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Pakistan 121, Fema 40, U.s. 39, United States 36, Us 29, India 19, Taliban 16, Musharraf 13, Mr. Nichols 11, Arkansas 11, Grassley 10, Dea 9, Kashmir 9, Washington 8, Mr. Wechsler 7, Isi 6, Mr. Harrigan 6, Pryor 6, Joplin 6, Mississippi 6,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    July 25, 2011
    8:30 - 12:00pm EDT  

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around town dropping off packages is truly having a very devastating effect on small and, frankly, medium-sized retailers in this country. there's a lot of them. i have, i get way too many conversations, telephone calls from small retailers around this country that are, in their view, being killed by that price differential. >> host: now, mr. byrne raises the point that some of the leading proponents of applying the sales tax online are walmart and be target, national retailers who have also been blamed by small retailers for price pressures and that sort of thing. how would you respond to that? >> guest: yes. and to a certain degree, he is correct. they are major proponent of this, but they're not alone. i mean, i spent a lot of time talking to the aftermarket auto parts industry which i didn't realize was having such a difficult time, but they're getting killed by the big
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warehouses that are selling to the folks who like to buy car parts. and, but this isn't just a main street versus internet because all these internet companies are on main street somewhere. and what happens when we get to the point where everybody's internet? aren't we all still just main street? and aren't we then in the same exact position as we are today where the internet, main street retailer in downtown sioux falls, south dakota, is competing with the internet mainstream retailer in utah without that price differential, and, you know, they're butting heads against each other trying to steal reach other's -- each other's local customers. in our view this is a retailing versus retailing, and at some point in this process we all have to compete with each other without the government giving one a competitive advantage over another. >> host: mr. peterson, you said earlier that you saw state sales
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tax going away. could you expand on that a little bit? >> guest: there is considerable concern among my employers that as you and i, the three of us change how we shop that we will, that soon we'll find ourselves in the situation where all the sales are on the internet. now, i met with a state senator of missouri this last winter who couldn't understand why we wanted to fix this problem given that in 20 years there wouldn't be any main street stores, and i was actually taken aback because i couldn't think of a response to that, and i thought i could always think of a response. but it made me think, well, what if he's right? what if there isn't main street and you can't walk into a store and buy something? you can go online to that store that's around the corner and buy something and have it shipped to you around the corner, but at that point in time, you know, all of us will be doing as so mh
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of our shopping online that there isn't anybody collecting sales tax. and, but then we still have the situation where i'm shopping around the corner online, they still have to pay my sales tack where the rest of the world doesn't. nearly 50% of the computers sold in this country are sold online. 0% of consumer -- 30% of consumer electronics are sold online. and if you see it, circuit city are gone. some of the others in that business are big supporters of what we're trying to accomplish because they're scared to death that they will be the next ones to go. big box retailing will be a thing of the past which might be good for small town retailers, but i'm not sure it's necessarily good for retailing. >> host: mr. peterson, this issue is getting some attention in congress. senator durbin, senator enzi are working on a draft bill, the main street fairness act. what would you like to see congress do? >> >> guest: we would like to see congress adopt the main street fairness act as senator enzi has been working on for ten years
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now which gives states the authority to require retailers to collect their sales tax if those states have done the minimum simplification things that we, the states, local governments and businesses have worked the last ten years trying to establish. give states who have made the actual effort to make their tax better the right to enforce their sales tax. because that's what this is all about. this isn't really about making somebody collect that's not collecting, this is about getting our tax enforced. >> host: gautham nagesh, last question. >> host: now, in this your view is legislation necessary? mr. byrne brought up the constitutional argument that congress is the body given the authority to regulate interstate commerce. could this be done without additional legislation, or is a bill like senator enzi and senator durbin's efforts necessary? >> guest: that's a neverending debate among our group. our preference would be
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legislation was that is a negotiate -- because that is a negotiated settlement. if you go back to the court and you get the wrong set of facts, we could all end up with a situation where an odd group of people have to collect, and our preference would be that everybody above a certain small business exemption would collect, and they would all collect following the same rules. and every state would have to do something to make their tax system better. >> host: scott peterson is the executive director of the streamline sales tax governing board which represents states in their efforts to get sales tax collected by internet companies. gautham nagesh is a technology reporter with "the hill. "if you'd like to read what he writes, hill.com. gentlemen, thank you for being on "the communicators." >> guest: thank you. >> coming up next, representatives of the drug enforcement administration and other agencies on
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counternarcotics efforts in afghanistan. after that, former pakistani president musharraf, then we're live with president obama as he addresses the national conference of the national council of la raza, and later the senate returns at 2 eastern for a period of general speeches follow bed later by debate and votes on judicial nominations. also today on the c-span networks a discussion on the political transition in egypt. you'll hear from a member of the country's supreme council of the armed forces, the group that's been overseeing egypt's transition to democracy since the removal of former president hosni mubarak. he'll discuss the pace of change, the demands of protesters and the role of the military. the forum is hosted by the u.s. institute of peace. it's live at 12:15 eastern on our companion network, c-span3. if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world and particularly in american politics and particularly in the congress, it's not so hard.
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c-span has a digital online archive that goes back to '79 or -- >> 1987. >> 1987. where you can, basically, watch anything that happened in the house or senate claimers right there on your screen. like, there are sources of information that were unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to follow washington with instant access to events from the white house to committee rooms and the house and senate chambers. all searchable, share bl and free. the peabody award-winning c-span video library. it's washington your way. at a recent senate hearing, representatives of the state department, drug enforcement administration and the defense department talked about u.s. counternarcotics efforts in afghanistan. some of the topics; difficulties in extraditing high-level drug traffickers from afghanistan to the united states. this hearing of the senate caucus on international
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narcotics control runs about 90 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. the purpose of this afternoon's hearing is to assess our counternarcotics efforts in afghanistan as we begin the drawdown of international troops. i think we can all agree, at least i hope we can, that the taliban has morphed into a hybrid. it's one part terrorist organization, one part global drug trafficking organization. for the past two years virtually every heroin processing lab raided by the dea, united stat s special forces and afghan police had ties to the taliban.ice what our forces find when they raid drug labs is not only large quantities of opium and heroin,d
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but heroin, but also also im explosive devices, bomb making materials, and taliban training manuals. in just one raid last year, 2,056 pounds of the highest grade heroin with wholesale value of $6 million was seized. experts agree it may take many years to get the drug trade in afghanistan under control. therefore, as the united states military begins to scale back its presence this month, i think we've got to ensure our civilians continue to support counter narcotics efforts in afghanistan. i think that's really important. a year ago this month this caucus released a bipartisan report entitled united states counter narcotics strategy in afghanistan, which contained several policy recommendations,
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and i would like to highlight progress that's been made and what remains to be done. first, the good news. the caucus recommended increasing the capacity of afghan counter narcotics forces with the support of the state and defense department. the afghan counter narcotics police vetted units were doubled in size, and now have over 500 officers. corruption in afghanistan is a huge problem and the caucus recommended that wherever possible u.s. law enforcement personnel assigned to assist the afghan police in drug investigations should expand the cases to include targeting corrupt afghan officials. the investigation of narcotics cases have, in fact, led to corruption cases. most notably, the arrest last
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year of the head of afghanistan's national security council, and one of president karzai's most trusted staff members. the united states sponsored vetted unit conducted court authorized wire intercepts that led to the evidence that salahi was soliciting a bribe of $10,000 and new car to impede an investigation of a money exchange firm that is alleged to have funneled $3 billion in undeclared cash out of the country. the caucuses report recognizes it is essential to remove the leadership of afghan drug trafficking organizations. investigators have been successful in targeting top level afghan drug traffickers who support the cal pan with federal narco terrorism statute, and when possible have gotten those king pins to the united
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states to face american justice. this leads to bad news. we have a strong narco terrorism law, and several on-going proactive investigations, there is no extradition treaty between afghanistan and the united states. it is up to the afghan government to decide case by case if they will allow the individuals to stand trial in the united states. what's happened is karzai hasn't allowed removal since 1999. i am led to believe that's because he was upset over the arrest of mr. salahi. our report also suggested that increasing dedicated, well, let
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me stay on that. it is my understanding that there is a united nations, sand we'll ask more about this, united nations piece of legislation that provides for the transfer of these people to this country for trial. so perhaps when our witnesses today who are all pros speak, you could speak as to what we can do now to see these people are extra indicted and go to federal prison and that there is a significant deterrence produced. our report also suggested increasing dedicated assets for air support of counter narcotics missions prior to the united states military draw down. while the state department agreed to purchase two is a core ski f 61 helicopters for counter
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narcotics use, we asked them for more. director of the state department's international narcotics and law enforcement air wing advised caucus staff that based on the mission requirements, a total of six f-61s are necessary. additionally, i learned that the two f-61 delivery not expected until 2014, and we may well be withdrawing completely in 2014. this is very troubling and i hope we can cut through our own government red tape to get these helicopters to afghanistan as soon as possible. before i close, i would be remiss not to mention that counter narcotics effort has not been without sacrifice. on october 26, 2009, three dea special agents were killed in a helicopter crash after a
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firefight with taliban drug traffickers that also claimed the lives of seven serviceman. on october 29th, 2009, the remains of dea special agents forest lehman, chad michael, michael westin, and the fallen united states service members were met by president obama at dover air force base. he honored the men and paid his respects at the dignified transfer ceremony. co-chairman grassley and i wish to convene our deepest condolences to the families of these dea agents that gave their lives fighting narcotics trafficking in afghanistan and hereby enter their obituaries into the record for today's hearing. it is hard i think for both of us to realize that we have people who carry out these missions and get killed carrying out these missions, and they do
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our country great service, and not much is said about it. but this committee wants everyone to know that we very much appreciate that service and we certainly honor it in the best way we can. so i would now like to turn to my co-chairman, senator grassley, for his opening statement. >> thank you for honoring the memory of those dea agents and the sympathy that we extend to the family and the recognition of their important role in defense of our country, even though they are not in the military. this is a very important hearing. i thank you for holding it. it is following up on what we did in 2009. today's hearing let's us follow up on the counter narcotics program in afghanistan and asks
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the question what we learned since the year 2009, the year of our other hearing. this discussion is important today as october will mark the 10th anniversary of our involvement in afghanistan, and given the draw down of u.s. personnel, probably more important that we keep up to date to make sure that other things we're doing in afghanistan are on track. even after years of u.s. counter narcotics efforts, afghanistan continues to produce 90% of the world's supply of opium. at the time of our last hearing in 2009, witnesses reported a decline in poppy production due to the blight and drought conditions in other countries that increased wheat prices. however, united nations recently reported that opium production stabilized between 2009 and 2010. in july of this year, chairman feinstein and i released a report that she's already talked
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about. this report was endorsed by all the members of this drug caucus, and of course contains nine recommendations. and we believe that these will have a very good impact on our current efforts. in our report, we recommended adequate resources be provided to the dea within current budgetary constraints to increase the number of personnel dedicated in investigation and interdiction. dea funding for operations in afghanistan flows through the state department. one year after we issued our report, we remain concerned about the state department's decision to reduce funding for deas, operating expenses in afghanistan, and doing it without adequate explanation. the state department and dea need to resolve any differences and provide designated funding for dea, counter narcotics activities to ensure there is no
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gap in capability. i understand that chairman feinstein has been closely monitoring this situation, and i wholeheartedly support her calls to ensure that dea operations are adequately funded by the state department. i want to ensure that both agencies can reach an agreement on this necessary funding and that agreement is real and not simple window dressing for today's hearing. the 2010 caucus report also focused on changes. the counter narcotics strategy focused on interdiction, alternative development and following the money. i support these efforts but also believe that crop eradication should be part of our counter narcotics program. in other parts of the world, crop eradication has proven to be an effective deterrent, basically when used in conjunction with alternative
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development programs. in our report, the drug caucus recommended crop eradication as part of comprehensive strategy, saying expert testimony that founder add indication equals pressure which forces the drug traffickers to make mistakes. these mistakes provide opportunities for law enforcement intelligence and military assets to break up trafficking rings, terrorist cells and ultimately the finances that support insurgent operation. unfortunately, the administration found it necessary to taker add indication off the table in 2009. i want to know more about how the administration's decision not to utilize eradication as an option has impacted the amount of opium cultivated in afghanistan and whether reinstituting these policies would help reduce the size of opium production. on another front in afghanistan,
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our efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing ought to have priority. money fuels the insurgency, and cutting funding needs to be very much at the forefront of drug fight. opium emerged as a significant funding source for terrorism since the fall of taliban regime in 2001. the opium trade is currently estimated to be worth $61 billion and accounts for roughly 50% of afghan's gdp. drug money funds more than just terrorist activity. it is also used to corrupt government officials and ultimately threatens destabilization of the country. we must remain vigilant against money laundering and terrorist financing by ensuring our laws keep pace with new and emerging trends terrorists exploit. we are reaching a point where the administration will soon be
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decreasing presence in afghanistan, while reducing the military footprint in afghanistan and increasing the operational capacity of afghans to govern their own country needs to occur clear, coherent planning must take place in advance. plans need to be in place to deal with drug trade and how counter narcotics operations and investigations continue absent security provided by u.s. military. we need to ensure law enforcement agencies likes dea will still be allowed to step up afghan operations. i want to hear what steps the administration has taken to plan for eventual draw down of troops, what impact it will have on counter narcotics operations. i am concerned in the race to reduce the presence, we may lose any ground on the fight against drug trade in that country. i strongly encourage the administration provide congress with a strategy for the
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continuation of our counter narcotics programs as the number of troops is reduced. i look forward to hearing from witnesses today regarding the status of a government-wide counter narcotics plan, status of funding disputes between government agencies and also about what programs have been working and not working in our current efforts to combat drug trafficking, money laundering in afghanistan. >> thank you very much, co-chairman. i would like to introduce our witnesses today. moving from my left to right, thomas harrigan, chief of operations for the dea, he's responsible for leading the worldwide drug enforcement operations of the agency's 227 domestic and 87 foreign offices, as well as special ops division, aviation division, an office of diversion control.
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he was appointed to this position in 2008 and is a principal adviser to dea administrator on all enforcement related matters. on february 16th, president obama nominated mr. harrigan to be the dea's deputy administrator. i'll go on and introduce the other two gentlemen here, and then we'll go right down the line. william wexler, excuse me, is deputy assistant secretary of defense for counter narcotics and global threats. he oversees a budget of over a billion dollars, leads department of defense's counter narcotics and threats finance policies and operations around the world. he has served as special adviser to secretary of treasury, on staff of national security council, director for transnational threats and for global issues and multi lateral affairs. he received a bachelors degree
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in government and economics from cornell and master in public administration from the school of international and public affairs at columbia. finally, last but not least, brian nichols assistant deputy secretary of state for international law enforcement affairs. he entered foreign service in 1989, was promoted into senior foreign service in 2003. he previously served as deputy chief of mission in columbia. prior to appointment there, he served as director of office of caribbean affairs. he also served as first secretary and deputy political counselor at the united states embassy in mexico, from '98 to 2001. mr. harrigan, if we could begin with you, please. you lead what i think is a very impressive organization, and i think you heard both the
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co-chair and myself indicate what we think some of the problems are, and i'll just say in terms of eradication, i debated that very heartily with richard holbrook, and did not feel crop eradication was worth it. we did not agree at the time we debated it. i would like a little update on what is going on in that area as you speak as well. please proceed. >> sure. well, again, chairman feinstein, co-chairman grassley, i appreciate the opportunity to testify today before the caucus, and i appreciate the support and commitment that you've shown dea, especially in afghanistan. i would also like to acknowledge and thank you for placing the obituaries of our three former agents on the press table. just a brief side story.
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about three months ago, i received a call from the widow of forest lee man, and she was three months pregnant when forest was killed with their first child, and just want to report to the caucus little luke is doing fine. we hope that he's in the cod ray of dea special agents in about 25 years. but again, i truly appreciate the caucus recognizing our three fallen agents and the seven service members we lost as well. what i would like to do today just for the sake of brevity, chairman, is give you quickly a pass, present, future snapshot of dea in afghanistan. as you know, dea was positioned in afghanistan back in the mid '70s, when the vast majority of heroin seized in the u.s. came from southwest asia. we were there in 1979 during the soviet invasion.
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they basically were coming in the front door, we were going out the back door, and we closed operations until we opened if again in 2003, and we were there on a tdy basis. then in 2006, we received funding and and we placed 13 permanent positions, that's agents and analysts and support personnel in afghanistan, and then in 2008, as you very well know, we expanded significantly in afghanistan to where we placed 81 full-time agents, analysts and support personnel in afghanistan. again, that would make it dea's third largest foreign office behind colombia and mexico. so again, just giving you a sense on the issues that dea deals with in afghanistan. now, dea's two primary objectives in afghanistan are, one, to identify, investigate, disrupt and dismantle the drug
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trafficking organizations, particularly those with the nexus to insurgent and terrorist groups. and secondly, is to build and extend the capacity and the capability of or afghan counternarcotics police, primarily the national interdiction unit, the investigation unit and technical investigative unit. what i would like to do is just briefly go into our two priorities and give you an update and status on those two initiatives. first, as you mentioned, chairman, in your opening statements, so many of the operations we have had have resulted several years ago initially the extra diction, some transferred to the u.s. and some have been lowered to the u.s. the first extra diction which occurred in 2005 was that of hajidi b as mohammed and received 15 years incarceration.
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again, that was signed by president karzai prior to the afghan parliament convening, but again, it was the first extra diction. some of the other significant traffickers we have been able to target and arrest -- hajiji ju makan perhaps the most prolific heroin trafficker. he was to the united states in 2008 and first prosecuted under the patriotic architect, narco terrorism act. another key trafficker is khan mohammed, the first narco terror conviction and sentenced to two life terms here in the district of columbia. so again, just to give you a broad snapshot of the significance of the targets and organization that is we're identifying in afghanistan. again, in afghanistan, our personnel, all our personnel, are forward deployed. again, chairman, as you very
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well know and the co-chairman, our personnel do two-year tours in afghanistan. to be quite honest with you, it helps us quite a bit building up the relationship with the afghan counterparts. they're deployed to kandahar, helmand and gentlemen lal bad the iocc, where we coordinate and deconflict sensitive operations, drug operations, terror -- operations targeting terrorists with the interagency. we also belong to the afghan threat finance cell, the atfc where we attack the financial networks that support the insurgency and other terrorist organizations and we have recently formed the northern border working group comprised of central asian countries in addition to afghanistan in addition to the united states and to russia. we also have our fast teams, our foreign deployed advisory teams
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where two of the agents killed in afghanistan in 2009 belonged to. again, we have exceptional integration with the u.s. military and isaf forces. they're trained by special forces of the united states and they basically execute high-arrest arrest and search warrants in conjunction with our agents and afghan personnel in afghanistan. just for briefly, i see that -- i appreciate the fact you put up the photos. that is very typical of what we see in afghanistan. this was part of an operation that was conducted, joint operation with the u.s. military, with the department of state, helicopters, the uhis and isaf forces called "operation car dan" and you can see just between the opium, the chemicals, the heroin, weapons, ammunition, again, this is a typical scene of some of the
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these drug bazaars we raid each and every day. and again, they're based on arrest and search warrants sworn by our afghan counterparts. thes not dea agents. it is not u.s. agents. it is the afghan counterparts that go before an afghan judge, raise their right hand and swear to the affidavit. relative to capacity building, you heard before of the sui. you have currently 77 officers in the siu. we have about 520 in the niu and in the tiu we have approximately 9 and that's close to the table of organization so we're very breezed with the progress there. and again, as i said before this committee when testifying on south america, they minimize corruption to a significant, significant extent. again as i said, it is the afghans that swear to the affidavit, write the reports, confer with prosecutors and try these cases.
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another program is our judicial wire set program. we're going through some technical glitches right now but over the two-plus years we have been able to legally and judicially intercept over 15 million calls from 2,600 target phones and gives us just an incredible, an incredible tool to fight these terrorist and drug trafficking organizations. relative to a way forward, chairman, what we need to do is, again, as you certainly addressed in your opening statement, we need to continue to engage the government of afghanistan on an extra diction tool or some other lawful transfer agreement. we need to do that. we, dea, needs to continue to improve our integration and coordination with the u.s. military and our afghan forces. we also need to expand our comfort shl source network throughout the region and i think more importantly we need
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to try to move counter narcotics from a national security issue, if you will, to a law enforcement issue. and what i'd like to do in closing, two months ago in february, outgoing departing ambassador iken barry summed up i think eloquently dea's operations in afghanistan. i'll be very brief but he said here and i quote, dea's mission in afghanistan led the way in rule of law efforts designed to impact the insurgency where it hurts the most, raising funds and tackling corruption. dea's mission combines growing law enforcement capacity with realtime mission effects. through drug lab raids with elite forces, undercover operations, using modern investigative techniques and pursuit of shadowy money trails that fund much of the insurgency, dea's work is what can be accomplished in afghanistan with a well-designed, bilateral
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relationship. and again, chairman, i will defer to my good friend brian from department of state on the eradication issue if you don't mind and i'll certainly chime in. again, we have a minimal role in eradication piece but i would -- >> do you want to make a brief comment on the helos? >> yes, certainly. as far as the helos, you're right. i had found out that the sakorskys are due to arrive in 2014 but over the course of the last 12 to 18 months, i believe it was based upon really general petraeus and again, i'll defer to my other good friend here at the table, will wechsler, but my understanding -- well, i know that general petraeus had elevated counter narcotics on his priority list. and it certainly made available to us the military's air assets. the aiu program i know will will
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discuss. the uwis of state. the chinooks of the military. we have not had any issues over the course of at least last 12 months, chairman, with getting and obtaining the assets, the air assets, that we need to safely and swiftly conduct operations such as this that you see here so it's gone very well over the last 12 to 18 months and we're very confident it will certainly continue. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. wechsler for that. i appreciate it. would you go ahead, please? >> thank you very much, chairman feinstein, co-chairman grassley and senator udall. i'll be very brief because i know you have my written statement for the record. first of all, i do want to thank you for all the support that this caucus gives to our counter narcotics efforts in afghanistan and truly around the world. i do -- there is a long way that
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we have to go on a lot of the issues that you discussed. and you have framed the challenges that we confront very well. but i do want to explain just for a moment if i could some of the real important progress that we have made relatively recently, just picking up on some of the comments that tommy made right at the end. in the last couple of years, we have really fundamentally reorganized our counter narcotics efforts from a department of defense perspective along the four key elements of strategy. policy, our organizational structure, our resources and our leadership. and those are the pieces that you have to have in place in order to have a real effect. we have moved sharply from a policy that previously limited in the last administration the role that the department of defense could play in the nexus
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between the narcotics traffickers and the taliban into a place where we are directly targeting them. with our colleagues in the law enforcement community. we have recognized that as attacking the networks requires a comprehensive, whole of government approach, recognizing that d.o.d. alone does not possess the legal authorities, skills or tools necessary to affect these kinds of targets in this kind of war. we have to partner, we have to do this in an interagency fashion if we're going to achieve our military objectives and in the end of the day go where tommy was saying from a national security problem to a law enforcement problem entirely. we have learned that it takes a network to beat a network in the d.o.d. saying. and we built a kind of fusion centers to make the best of the targeting techniques honed by the military over the recent years in iraq and afghanistan called find, fix and try to get inside the turning radius of
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your enemy's decision making. fortunately, today, as tommy mentioned, we have a variety of highly trained reliable partners in specialized afghan counter narcotics unit. the defense department is proud of the resources it's provided in conjunction with our friends from state. and of course, through the support of this caucus amongst others up on the hill for the aviation intradiction unit, the technical investigations unit. we also provide resources to interagency mechanisms such as the operations coordination center that tommy mentioned combined joint interagency task force, nexus in kandahar, the afghan threat finance cell and helped to stitch together the organisms in a matrix of decision making and prioritization procession for the coordination and action and perhaps most importantly we have the right leaders in place that really fully appreciate the role
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that counter narcotics plays in this kind of war that we're fighting in afghanistan. i would be remiss if i didn't mention specifically in addition to general petraeus, who did, indeed, change a lot of the way that is we approach these, general allen from back in ce - cent-com who's a real leader in this effort. brigadier general mcmaster all of whom recognize that the illegal narcotics industry is sbi intrinsically linked. >> i just want to stress that statement. that statement you made i think is very significant. >> thank you very must have, senator. i'm pleased to report that even though the narcotics problem as proven to be an extraordinarily difficult challenge as you would expect given the percentage of global heroin that comes out of afghanistan, as a result of our new policies, organizational
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structures, our resources and the leadership, we're now seeing really important dividends from the sustained investments we have made. may 15th to june 15th of this year as was mentioned u.s. and coalition and afghan military officers and law enforcement agencies conducted an operation that means strangle. the department of defense designed to support 30 days of counter drug operations. the operation was the first sustained counter drug operation synchronized among multiple law enforcement and military elements. these operations focused on narcotics networks with a southern afghanistan, destroying multi-ton quantities of narcotics and leading to the rest of numerous individuals by afghan law enforcement. while the full results are being analyzed, at this early stage of the operation appears to have had a real effect on the enemy and dmon strarted resolve to enforce the rule of law throughout southern afghanistan
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and attack insurgent networks in places previously untouched and techniques previously unemployed. and in another encouraging development, poppy cultivation appears to be declining for the third straight year in 2011 according to u.n.est maits. if this preliminary estimate holds, it will be, quite frankly, a surprise and in stark contrast to widespread predictions of a rebound because of prices going up. this notable trend can be attributed to improved security by the afghan national security forces, u.s.-supported efforts and the efforts of the afghan government to discourage poppy cultivati cultivation. again, madame chairman, i appreciate the opportunity to testify and look forward to your questions. >> i was reading your written testimony and on page 11, you point out that between may 15th and june 15th, and this is the
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94 missions on the narcotic insurgent corruption nexus that that -- those operations resulted in denying the enemy $5 million in drugs and currency, seizure of 5 metric tons of homemade explosives, enough to make 236 improvised explosive devices. the arrest of 25 suspects and the elimination of approximately 100 insurgents from the battle space. i mean, i'd say congratulations to all of you. >> thanks. >> mr. nichols? >> chairman feinstein, so- >> could you turn on your mike? great. >> chairman feinstein, co-chairman grassley, senator whitehouse and senator udall, thank you for your opportunity to discuss u.s. government counter narcotics programs in afghanistan. the department of state's bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs or inl which i help to lead administers a va vie ri of counter narcotics
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rule of laws corrections and police training programs in afghanistan in support of u.s. policy objectives and at the direct request of the government of afghanistan. our efforts there are part of the larger interagency and international fight to stem the narcotics trade that helps fund the insurgency, fuels corruption and drives crippling addiction among afghan families. in concert with our afghan and international partners we have made major strides in reducing pop sy cultivation, cutting opium yields an increasing the professionalization of the afghan police, prosecutors and judges that go after the traffickers. since 2007, afghan poppy cultivation has fallen by more than one third. these gains have been real and substantial. they're also fragile and dependent upon our having the continued resources to do the job and the afghan government's continued commitment to fighting
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drug production. in 2010, roughly 3,600 metric tons of open yachts worth an estimated $65 million on the global market were introduced into the economy of afghanistan. we know that narcotics are key funding sources for insurgent operations in afghanistan and afghanistan's success in reducing this funding source for the insurgency will have a direct bearing on the ability of u.s. and coalition forces to turn over security responsibilities to the afghan government. inl programs directly support our goals at both ends of the drug supply chain by targeting the insurgent narco trafficker nexus while enhancing support for elicit agriculture, counter narcotics law enforcement, demand reduction, public information and rule of law capacity. all of these efforts center on building the afghan government's ability to take a greater
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responsibility in the fight against narcotics. where dea actively mentors and conducts joint operations with vetted units within the counter narcotics police of afghanistan or cnpa, inl air sis tans provides funding support to those activities and also export mentors who teach the cnpas mid level officers the mid level skills to run law enforcement operations. another cornerstone of the u.s. counter narcotics strategy in afghanistan is a development of sustainable agricultural alternatives to poppy. inl programs communicate the harm of the drug trade to afghan citizens, they introduce an element of risk into elicit crop planting decisions that farmers make and encourage provincial leaders to reduce poppy cultivation. these efforts from integrated with other efforts of afghanistan which focus on building the agricultural sector
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as an engine for job growth and higher incomes for rural families. we also have the ministry for counter narcotics or mcn develop public information campaigns to inform public opinion on narcotics issues. these public information efforts are complimented by the funding for the ministry's good performers forum with projects in provinces that reduced elicit opium cultivation. senator grassley asked about our eradication efforts and my good friend will referred to the progress that we have made in helmand province. as part of our governor-led eradication program, which reimburses the expenses of governments for afghan-led eradication, the area eradicated under that program has increased by more than 65%.
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very much in response to the efforts of our colleagues in the isaf and international coalition to provide security and the efforts of the ministry of counter narcotics to increase support among the governors. widespread drug addiction is a significant threat to afghanistan's future. addiction not only provides a sustainable domestic market for drug traffickers but also threatens the health of the next generation of afghans. to respond to these challenges inl is working to develop a drug treatment system for afghanistan. we currently support 29 drug treatment centers in 16 provinces including 6 centers for women with aegis ent centers for drug addicted children. it's well over half of the available treatment options within afghanistan. the challenges of reducing the threat of afghan narcotics
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remain profound. however, the transition to afghan lead is beginning to show results. key ministries are growing in capability, provincial governors showed greater commitment to cutting poppy cultivation and security forces are more effective and extending the operations in traditional cultivation areas. with your guidance and continued support, inl will continue to develop programs that meet evolving challenges on the ground and work with our interagency partners to meet these important objectives. i and my colleagues inl are grateful for your continuing support of our important work. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. nichols. and i note in comments that the price is going up which is always good news so i want to just say congratulations, everybody. mr. nichols, as you know i was troubled to learn earlier this year that the dea's operating
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budget in afghanistan which was paid in '09 and '10 through a fund appropriated through the state department is not receiving the support it should in 2011. i wrote a letter to secretary clinton on january 25th expressing the concern. the president's budget once again provides funding to state that i would hope is in part intended for dea. but it is, again, unclear stating that, and i quote, up to 230 million end quote may be transferred by the secretary of state to other agencies operating in afghanistan. now. i understand that in the days leading up to this hearing this issue was resolved. i'd like your clarification on this and here's the question. will the state department provide dea with funding for counter narcotics operations in afghanistan?
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if so, how much? >> madame chairman, i am happy to report that we have been in close consultation with our good friends in dea and that we are able to fully support their efforts for this current fiscal year. we have been working very hard to ensure that our authorities allow us to provide full funding for their operations, as well as their capacity-building ka i activities which we traditionally fund through the inkle account and we have reached agreement on that and we're going through the process of effecting that transfer and making sure that dea can continue its important work. going forward, we've already begun discussions for the next fiscal year 2012 and how we can cooperate in that area and
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identify the needs that dea has and ensure that they're fully met going forward. we in thisl are committed to working as closely with dea to ensure that they have everything they need to do their important work. >> well, let me respectfully suggest to you just as the take down of osama bin laden indicated that we have got to move now aggressively and get the rest of al qaeda leadership, the good work that's been done to bring up the price, to make cultivation more difficult, to make the arrests and create the sentencing mechanism for people also has had an affect and i think now's the not the time to stop. now is the time to continue. so i will take you at your word, mr. nichols, that they will be fully funded. >> i think we better get the opinion of dea whether or not they think that -- >> shall we do that? >> yes. >> all right. let's do it. mr. harrigan?
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>> brian, could you please raise your right hand? i'm only -- well, thank you very much but brian was right on, chairman. we have been in discussions over the last -- over the last several weeks, and i want to personally recognize brian and ambassador brownfield from inl who have really i think taken it upon themselves to try to identify funds to make sure that dea is able to backfill some of our va cannot positions in afghanistan so there's no doubt in my mind it has been worked out as brian said for 2012. we have received commitments and if we do receive the commitments we have discussed, i am absolutely confident that we will be at full capacity in afghanistan. >> well, thank you very much. and please tell secretary clinton i very much appreciate this. thank you.
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what, if anything, is state going to expedite the arrival of the two helicopters? >> we will in next month be able to provide an additional medium air lift capability in afghanistan. three c-4-46 helicopters will arrive in august and be available to support dea operations. >> oh, good. >> we still have -- >> august of what year? >> next month. >> oh, next month? good. that's great. and what are those helicopters? >> those are ch-46s so we're having an interim fill while we wait for the s-61s. >> how many of them are available? >> three will be available in august and we'll get five next year. >> that's terrific. >> for a total of eight. >> that's terrific. thank you, thank you. let me ask this question of mr. harrigan. it is my last question.
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are there specific cases against afghan drug traffickers for which you hope to have extradition but were unable to get the afghan government's agreement? >> well, we did. we worked very closely with the embassy in kabul, chairman. there have been a few cases, and again -- >> how many or a few? >> well, we used some of the in my opening statement, some of those significant traffickers that i discussed in my opening statement -- >> no, no. you discussed people that have been brought to justice. >> yes. >> i'm talking about -- >> pending? >> the kingpins you want to extradite but can't. >> well, we have -- without going into specifics, chairman, i'd be happy to brief you in a more appropriate setting. but -- >> is it more than one? >> well, right now, it's not a question as far as a matter of numbers. we do have individuals
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identified who are what we consider sea pots, the kingpins, the consolidated priority organization targets in afghanistan. but they are -- let's put it this way. they're not at a point in the judicial process we would be indicting them any time soon or seeking their extradition from afghanistan. >> have they been arrested? >> no. so there's no one pending right now that we've seen -- >> all right. okay. >> -- we seek the extradition of this. >> is this putting a damper on your work? >> well, it makes it difficult because, again, some of these -- there will be a day where these organizations and organization heads are arrested by the afghans. and i assume at that time we would request their extradition to the united states and again it would be incumbent upon the government of afghanistan to make that decision and hopefully, like i said, if it's not an extradition treaty, it
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may be as you referred -- referenced earlier, the '88 u.n. convention that allows us the transfer agreement. hopefully something will be worked out by then because i believe it would certainly test the will of the afghan judicial system to try some of these very significant and prolific drug traffickers in afghanistan. >> i would hate to think you're holding up operations. >> we are not. let me assure you. we absolutely are not. >> okay. i think that's important. >> no. >> and i would urge you to see the attorney general because he has indicated his support. >> yes, he has. he's been extremely supportive. >> get what you need to do what you need to do. >> yeah. we are. let me absolutely assure the caucus, we are not slowing down or curtailing operations, hoping one day that an extradition treaty is signed. we go where the evidence takes us as quickly or unfortunately as slowly as sometimes it does but we continue full speed ahead.
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>> thank you. >> you're welcome. >> mr. chairman? >> it's unfortunate that we didn't get your testimony until after 5:00 last night because my staff briefed me last night or late yesterday afternoon, and so, we have got some questions here based upon the fact that we didn't have your testimony. now, sometimes it's very legitimate that we not have testimony maybe until late but this hearing was announced two months ago and i don't understand why we couldn't have had it up here. but the testimony includes some inconsistencies and contradictory facts. give you an example. state department's written testimony states there were roughly 3,600 metric tons of poppies cultivated. the defense department testimony has the figure at 3,200 metric tons. another example -- state's testimony highlights,
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quote/unquote, peak cultivation l levels. however, defense department testimony has peak cultivation at 202,000 hectors, 207 current cultivation. if the administration can't even get the base figures right, how are we expected to have effective coordination strategy? given the delay in getting the testimony, these are the questions i have. so mr. nichols and mr. wechsler, why are your testimonies inconsistent on base facts about the levels of narcotic production and cultivation in afghanistan? but more importantly, which estimates are correct? >> while i'm tempted to say that everything will does is right and everything i do is wrong, our source for the data that in
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my testimony is the u.n. office on drugs and crime which is an assessment of opium cultivation in afghanistan. and that's the source for the number that is are in my testimony, senator. >> yeah, like i say -- all i can say is we'll get you the answer. might be a timing issue. >> cooperation and coordination among the agencies, our report recommends a strategy for continued counter narcotics operations followed anticipated withdrawal of u.s. troops. mr. nichols, has such a strategy been discussed and developed and if not the reason? >> the special representative for afghanistan and pakistan leads our overall policy efforts and we are supporting his efforts, ambassador grossman's
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efforts, to develop all of the different elements of our policies. >> tried to get him here but couldn't. >> okay. so, in other words, you aren't in a position really to answer my question? is that what you're saying? >> yes, senator. i would defer to the special representatives office. >> then would you since the question is to you would you get me a written answer to the question? >> i will, sir. >> thank you. mr. harrigan, what are dea's plans for continued operations should military forces draw down to levels that would not allow adequate support for your operations? >> well, again, co-chairman grassley, i have been in discussions really for the last 18 months with my counter part at the podium here, mr. wechsler, as well as our regional director in afghanistan with the u.s. military and si isaf forces. dea has no intention of drawing down any of our 81 personnel.
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it would be a bit premature to see right now how the drawdown will impact dea but let me assure you we continue to work with the u.s. military, isaf and counter parts in afghanistan so when the day comes that the military does draw down, that dea will still be able to operate effectively and most importantly safely. because we do need the u.s. military assistance and security that they do provide us but we continue to work that through. but again, we have absolutely no intention of drawing down our personnel, again, as the chairman indicated as long as the funding is available. >> okay. let me ask all of you starting with you, mr. harrigaharrigan, n the other two jump in. what efforts are under way to coordinate and deconflict activities between various counter narcotics operations among each of your agencies? >> well, one of the centers that both i and will and brian may
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have mentioned business the isocc, if you think of it domestically, it is like a decon flix and coordination center. if we're going out on an operation like we have discussed, we make sure that all the information we have, the locations of the targets, the names of the targets, if there's telephone numbers available, any financial information, goes in to thesocc. the isocc scrubs all that information, makes sure that all the -- all the participating groups in that particular facility isocc recognized that dea and our counter parts will be conducting an operation on particular targets on a particular day at a particular vicinity. i am very comfortable with the protocols and policies that we have in place in afghanistan. we have had any issues we had
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have been very minimal as far as decon flix. but the decon flix coordination piece i think works extraordinary in afghanistan. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. oh. >> like to hear from the other two if i could. >> beg your pardon. sure. >> if you ask that question two years ago you would not have had a satisfactory response but because of the organizations that we have structured, because of the integration as i was described, we now have the right structures both at the operational level or the isocc working with the ijc to do the planning that was required for law enforcement operations and at the tactical level down with nexus in our rc south and southwest and the other ones to bring the plans into fruition, coordinate while they're going on and then do the analysis required afterwards for the next planning exercise.
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this is -- this is required, quite frankly, a degree of cultural attunement both the law enforcement and the defense side. both sides, both the militaries had to learn about how the law enforcement processes work. law enforcements had to learn how military operations work. and together we found that they're far more powerful than they were separately. >> mr. nichols, do you have anything to add? >> our role would be through the aviation wing in kabul. we're sort of the net jets provider to dea. they tell us where they want to go, when they want to go. we make sure they have the assets to go. >> okay, thank you. will we have a second round? >> you can. certainly. thank you very much. early bird senator udall? >> thank you, madame chairman. >> you're welcome. >> thank you for you and senator grassley holding this hearing. and i thank our witnesses for
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your commitment, i know, and very, very difficult circumstances over there in afghanistan. i want to step back a little bit from senator grassley's question because he was talking about conflicting numbers in various parts of your testimony, and have you try to paint a picture for us in terms of your mseasurs of success in terms of how we're doing with poppy on the ground there, the heroin on the ground, i mean, one number was thrown out, i think by you mr. wechsler in terms of reducing by one third or fallen by one third since 2007. and the kind of numbers i'm looking for you to paint in the big picture along the lines of, you know, how much poppy is exported out of afghanistan and is that up or down in terms of the years? is there more cultivated throughout afghanistan? are we up and down in terms of
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those numbers? and obviously, the insurgency gets its dollars from this drug trade. and so, are the dollars that you estimate from them to carry out the insurgency, are they getting more money now or less? and just kind of looking at the big picture to give us a sense of how we're moving in terms of our successes there. if each of you could do that from your own perspective i think it might put those numbers in a little different light. >> well, thank you for the question, senator. from dea's perspective, you know, it's a couple of interesting thing that is we have seen over the years due to the -- i think the successes that we have realized, again, with my interagency partners, and of course, with the afghans. there's sort of a change in the drug paradigm now in afghanistan
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where years ago where you had the organizations, whether it was run by -- khan mohammed, they were very, very sort of linear, if you will. we have seen over the course of the last year or so they're developing more into the cartels we see in mexico and colombia, those that are much more sophisticated where they have organizations, where they have transporters, where they have distributors, where they have people that provide protection for the particular loads. so from dea's position, it is made it that much more difficult as far as identifying some of these lab locations. now, another interesting thing is we have seen over the course of the last 18 months and i think it's attributable to, again, the success of the afghans and the interagency in afghanistan is very rarely do we
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see the large loads of heroin that we saw a few years ago. you know, multi-ton loads. even back i believe it was 2008, 2009, "operation albatross," largest drug seizure in history. over 250 tons of hashish. we see -- we do not see that anymore when it comes to heroin because it appears that the organizations because of the enforcement pressure put on these organizations, not only by the u.s. military and isaf and afghan forces and law enforcement community, we have seen them no longer stockpiling the heroin. what they'll do is they'll receive an order from a particular trafficker, say either in turkey or somewhere in the middle east or russia, and what they'll do is they'll immediately produce that order, whether it's 100, 200, 300 kilos and the heroin immediately moves out of afghanistan. years ago, that was not the
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case. we were seeing when we would hit these lab locations up here, we would typically see several hundred kilos of finished product, of heroin at a time. we are not seeing that anymore. we are seeing the chemicals, the acidic, the soda ash separated from the opium and when an order is placed, that when it is made and produced into heroin and moved out. so again, it has caused us to refocus our enforcement groups in afghanistan to where we now have five strike force that is are strategically forward deployed in afghanistan working with the afghan counter parts, our sensitive investigative units and the u.s. military and isaf forces to, again, target these organizations and create, if you will, a ring around afghanistan not allowing the heroin to leave, and again, not
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allowing the chemicals to enter into afghanistan. i would defer to my friends on the panel here relative to the numbers, the production numbers and the cultivation numbers, as well. >> if i could suggest, senator, that as far as our metrics, it's important to take these in and somewhat of a chronological order. the first one is to disrupt the networks allied with the taliban and achieve the military objectives on the ground to bring ski to the area much we have been talking about a lot of that here. the second one is to build afghan capability over the long run to be a long-term partner for dea. so that this can be dealt with as a law enforcement program and to transfer the skills and the capabilities to the after ganls as you're building up those skills. it tends to be at least in my
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experience in looking at this the longer term trend is the declining production. so for instance, we started plan colombia, you know, at nearing the end of the clinton administration. and we are seeing now significant declines in overall production of cocaine in colombia. those tend to -- first you get security. then you get governance and then the overall strategic level decline in production. i suggest that might be a good way to look at the metrics. >> mr. nichols, if you have anything to add to my question. >> i would second my colleagues' remarks, senator, and also note that what we're seeing, again, is a drop in the area, the total area under cultivation in afghanistan but that's being driven particularly by gains in the south and as will alluded to
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those gains are being facilitated by a combination of our own progress militarily and strong leadership on the part of the afghan officials, both at the gubernatorial level and in the ministry of counter narcotics in afghanistan. >> you know, i was looking for more in the way of specifics like i think mr. wechsler got when he talked about, you know, one -- down by one third and then 13. you may not have those numbers but i hope that you will answer that question for me in terms of where we're headed and what are the mseasures of success. i mean, how much -- it seems to me it's important to know, are the numbers going down on up when koit comes to the amount o dollars the insurgency is getting off the drug trade, are
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the areas of cultivation going up and down? not just one province of helmand. the news reports out there seem to suggest that if since we have been there it spread widely, more widely poppy cultivation. i'm trying to get a sense of you who have the numbers and know what they are, is that a distortion or is that happening? if you could try to answer those for me in specific numbers that would be great. i realize you might not have them now. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator, if i might, i do know and again correct me if i'm wrong in 2010, i believe the estimates were 98% of the opium grown was in the south and in the west in afghanistan. again, that's why we focus most of our resources down there because that's the one area where most of the poppy certainly is being cultivated. the overwhelming majority is down in the south and the west.
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>> thank you. >> thank you, senator jew dal. senator reich? >> pass. >> okay. we'll have a second round. why don't you begin, senator? okay? >> absolutely. for mr. wechsler, wanted to bring up the national guard counter drug schools and the vital training they provide for federal, state and local law enforcement. and that, of course, deals with combatting drug trafficking. last month, i sent you a letter expressing my concerns over the possibility that some of these schools might be closed or the focus of the programs significantly altered. i stated in that letter as i do today any effort to close school or alter a program to train less law enforcement is an effort to weaken the effectiveness of these schools and hurt ability to -- of law enforcement to combat drugs. so, has there ever been a proposal discussed internally to close any national guard counter
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drug schools? and if so, please tell us which school or schools and why. >> sir, no, there is not such a proposal before me right now. where we did have a significant issue was with the continuing resolution, and the fact that we were under a continuing resolution and caused a lot of problems in -- as i understand, what i heard from the comptroller and from our legal authorities about how we could fund some of those schools during that period that we were in the continuing resolution. we are in process of looking at the schools as we do every year in the budgetary process and we will be -- i do remember your letter and it will be quite -- it will be an important add to our process. >> i think you got just about to my second question but let me ask it any way and maybe be a
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little bit more specific s. there a proposal or efforts to alter counter drug school training priorities? and if so, discuss with me the new priorities or why the priorities are being shifted. >> i think i'm going to have to defer you to the national guard for exactly how that program is managed. again, my knowledge is that the biggest issue that we ran into specifically with the schools was regarding the continuing resolution which caused a significant amount of problems in the management of those schools. but the wider management of the program and how the schools as one part of the wider 54 state and territory national guard counter drug programs are being managed i look to the national guard to make those decisions. >> are you in a position to get me an answer from the national guard on that point? >> absolutely, senator. >> let me follow up with a
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couple other questions that you probably can't answer now but along the same lines. whether or not they or you would agree with the premise that a few you are law enforcement personnel are able to receive specialized counter drug training whether it would reduce the effectiveness of the efforts to eradicate the drugs in the country and what shift of priorities would have on training schools. thank you. could i go on to continue to ask -- well, this would be of all three of you. in our 2010 report, we included a report that the afghan judicial is, quote, not capable of handling the prosecution and incarceration of high-level drug traffickers. this was a similar of other countries including mexico. the caucus report on mexico earlier this year discussed how
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extra dictions put traffickers behind bars despite concerns of trials and incarceration there. i'll start with mr. nichols. what is the status of the proposed extradition treaty between the united states and afghanistan? >> senator, i will have to get back to you on the specific status of the extra digs treaty. >> that's okay. i'll be glad to have you take that recourse. can i also ask you, in secure ing -- well, let me ask you this. and maybe you can't answer this either, but is securing an extradition treaty with afghanistan a priority of ours? >> i would give you my personal opinion -- >> just answered it.
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>> the -- having served for three years in colombia and worked closely with my colleagues at the table in that context where extradition was an incredibly important tool, i believe that extradition is vital for our global efforts to counter narcotics trafficking and should be something that we work on in as many countries as we possibly can. >> whoa, whoa, whoa. wait a minute. you didn't really answer his question. he said, is it. you said, i believe. is it a prime priority? yes or no? >> yeah. that's what i'd like to know. i believe since you don't want to answer it, probably not a priority. >> yeah. >> i would defer to my colleagues on the special representative for afghanistan, pakistan on how they would -- the many important priorities that we have in our relations with afghanistan. >> can you deliver him to this committee? >> i can certainly convey your
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request to the office. >> that would be appreciated. >> thank you, madame chairman, for that. corruption's another area that afghanistan and mexico have in common. for example, major crime task force in the sensitive investigative unit were involved in providing support to afghanistan investigators last year who ultimately arrested the aide to president karzai and the chairman's already referred to this. ultimately president karzai's worked directly to secure this aide's release. mr. nichols, "the washington post" reported last year that secretary clinton called president karzai to express the displeasure with, quote, any decision that undermines the anti-corruption efforts. what impact has this case had on u.s. cooperation with afghanistan in investigating public corruption? >> as tommy noted, the
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investigations into corruption in afghanistan are very important to us, and we see that the units that we work with play an important role in anti-corruption efforts. we through inl support a number of units that play a role in that. the sensitive investigations unit, the technical investigations unit which dea both mentor, as well as the major crimes task force that the fbi mentors. we're committed to continuing those efforts and we believe that there has been important progress against mid-level officials but there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in terms of high-level corruption. >> well, so you're saying -- i think you're saying then that this intervention by president
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karzai in this high-level person has really dampened the efforts of cooperation for from that country on getting high-level corruption? public corruption. >> high-level corruption continues to be a significant issue and one that we need to continue to work on. >> so, we are not getting the cooperation of the afghan government? >> the afghan government cooperates on anti-corruption efforts in a number of areas but i think when you talk about high-level corruption, we could see greater progress. >> go ahead. >> follow up. >> do you want to? >> if i may, also, senator, just very briefly, and again, brian picked up on this and alluded to this, but again, that's the importance, senator grassley, of these sius. again, they are leahy vetted. we do backgrounds on them and six weeks of training at the dea
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academy. we cannot eliminate corruption but it's the officers that continue the work closely. with this salahi issue, believe me, did not dampen the enthusiasm of the afghan investigators whom we work with on a daily basis. that's sort of maybe the good news story there. we continue to work very closely in targeting the high-level corruption. >> well, let me pick it up from there. it's my understanding that in april of '09 president karzai issued a decree that pardoned and ordered the release of five drug traffic earls who are caught with more than 260 pounds of heroin. and convicted for prison sentences between 16 and 18 years. true or false? >> i would have to get the exact
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details, chairman, but i do believe -- >> either they were pardoned or not pardoned. >> i believe they were, but again, i would have to get exactly which particular case. >> well, can you get that information? >> i could certainly confirm that, yes. >> okay. to what extent is the afghan government involved in drug trafficking? >> well, again, this is from dea's perspective, as brian alluded to earlier, we are concerned with levels of corruption in the afghan government but the bottom line is we don't know what we don't know. we continue to work closely with these sius utilizing our judicial -- >> for a moment, forget the sius. you are head of the whole thing. >> yeah. >> surely it would come to your attention. do you believe that the afghan government is involved in drug trafficking? >> well, we do not have any specific information, because let me assure you, if we had
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information or any details or evidence, we would certainly pursue it. there's no one telling us not to pursue a particular investigation, chairman. so let me assure you there's nothing stopping us or slowing us down. if the evidence is there, we'll pursue it, take it to the very end. >> good. mr. wechsler? >> yes, senator, if i can say, this problem that you mentioned has been identified by isaf as one of the key challenges that must be addressed as part of our overall military strategy and as a result, we have set up cjaf -- as i mentioned before, which means transparency to put the kind of counter network techniques and analysis that we have used in other context against this problem set and our conclusion is that one of the most damaging forms of corruption is criminal patronage
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networks. the networks that undermine governance, that are sometimes allied with the drug trade, that siphon money off of program that is are designed to help the afghan people. and that in overall have a negative anti counter insurgency effect. and this task force, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, is identifying the tynes of targets and the kinds of effects that you need to have in order to combat these criminal paet ronnage. >> i appreciate that. there are a lot of rumors around about how this works. and i'd like that you all take a look at it and report back to us what is fact and what is fiction. and how deeply government officials, if they are at all, are involved in drug traffickinging or receiving drug
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monies. i was just handed a document from the congressional research service that said despite united states and other donor nation investment and supporting afghan counter narcotics justice reform, some analysts and donors are concerned that a lack of afghan political will to adhere to the rule of law may undermine international efforts. in a, well, it guess into the five drug traffickers and 260 pounds of heroin, prison sentences. and according to reports, one of the convicted traffickers was a relative of normaler governor haji din muhammad and car caye's decision to release the traffickers was viewed mainly as a campaign maneuver to gain favor with political supporters, including hashy din muhammad.
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i don't know who he is. maybe you do. but it's out there now. and i think, you know, our responsibility is to look at these countries and i think if we're supporting a government that's partaking in either the forgiveness of drug trafficking or complacent in drug trafficking we should know. a lot of nods. you didn't nod, mr. nichols. okay. three nods. >> if i could have two little short questions and then i'll -- i guess this would be of mr. harrigan. how many times has dea argued for extradition but has been denieded the ability to seek extradition by the state department? >> well, it's not the state
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department, sir. it is, again, probably, off the top of my head, and i could certainly confirm this for you and i will get it for you, maybe on three or four occasions there there was high level traffickers where we submitted for the u.s. state department or questioning their extradition. >> well, then when you did that, did the state department try to seek extradition because you just said before you answered my question, it's not the state department. then you just said it was the state department. >> maybe i misspoke. again, it is absolutely not the u.s. state department. we work extremely closely with them in matters such as this. >> okay. >> and the department of justice. >> well, then you said you sought their help. and then do they follow through to seek extradition of the people who asked them to seek extradition. >> absolutely. the department of justice and
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respective district here in the united states of the u. s. attorneys' office who was -- >> okay. well, then, that answers that question. >> let me ask my staff. on another point, this is for mr. reschler. aside from the development of extradition treaties as the defense department established any protocol or procedures for considering the use of military commissions to prosecute high-level terrorism targets that may alsoçó be guilty of narcotics violations? >> not specifically for narcotics violations, but there are others in the department of defense that have been working on this issue. i will go back with their question and make sure you have an answer. >> okay. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, senator. >> thank you, madam chair. the key here on prosecutions is the judicial system, obviously. and i think -- are you, for the
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most part, when you develop the evidence using their judicial system or trying to go the extradition route as others have asked about me? >> well, senator, it depends really on the level trafficker. low level trafficker is we typically keep in the afghan system. they have done a masterful job at training afghan prosecutors. as a matter of fact, they've written most of the counter narcotics laws so they closely mirror ours in the united states. it is though high-level traffickers that only time will tell if the afghan judicial system is mature enough, if you will, to prosecute and handle those traffickers. and it's those traffickers that we, again, seek their extradition. >> and for the traffickers that you're developing the evidence,
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putting them into the afghan courts, some of the reports that have come out, there's a report by this special inspector general for afghan reconstruction that talks about the lack of capability and capacity of the courts. how would you, in terms of a law enforcement official, rate their courts or grade their courts? how are they doing? how far have they come in the period of time they've been there and you've been observing this. >> thank you, senator. it's certainly something -- it's a little out of my lane as far as the court stfpl i can certainly get an answer for you. but from my opinion from what i have seen, it may not be perfect but over the course of the last six or seven years it has certainly developed, i think, into a very, let's say a decent system that is able to handle traffickers again at a certain level. they have come a long way.
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i have been to afghanistan about a half dozen times. every time i return i see the court system and the criminal justice task force has developed even more than the time before. so is it perfect? obviously absolutely not. but it's certainly gotten better over the years. >> thank you very much. and whatever you could supplement that would be great. >> thank you very much, senator. and gentlemen, thank you very much. i think you've been terrific. and i really appreciate it. and i think you know you have the support of this committee on both sides for whatever it's worth or not worth. but i know sometimes law enforcement likes to have some support on their side. in this case mr. harrigan, you certainly do. mr. wechsler, thank you for caring. i know defense has many other things, but i think this is really important. and mr. nichols, please, again,
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relay my thanks for the funding of dea. and we look forward to the job getting done in a very so thank you, gentlemen. and the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> just ahead on c-span2, former pakistani president, pervez musharraf, talks about his country's relations with the united states. then president obama gives a live address to the annual conference of the national council of la raza. and later the senate returns at 2 eastern for a period of general speeches followed by debate and votes on judicial nominations. greece's finance minister is in washington for talks this week with the new imf managing director and u.s. officials to talk about his country's debt crisis. this comes after an emergency meeting last week in brussels where european leaders approved a second bailout plan for the greek government. while in washington he'll be speaking at a forum today hosted by the peterson institute for international economics. you can see his remarks live at
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6 p.m. eastern on c-span3. with titles like slander, godless, guilty, and her latest, demonic, ann coulter has something to say. now sunday, august 7th, your chance to talk to, e-mail and tweet "the new york times" best-selling author and syndicated columnist ann coulter. "in depth," for three hours starting at noon eastern live on booktv on c-span2. next, former pakistani president pervez musharraf. he talks about drone strikes, u.s. relations with india and the presence of osama bin laden in his country before his killing last spring. the former pakistani president plans to return to pakistan next year to seek the presidency in 2013. he recently spoke at the woodrow wilson center for about an hour.
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[inaudible conversations] >> good morning and welcome to the wilson center. and for many of you, including president musharraf, welcome back to the wilson center. i understand we have overflow crowds in numerous rooms befitting an important visitor and an important speech. my name is jane harman, i am the relatively new -- three months into it -- president and ceo of the wilson center. i'm a recovering politician. [laughter] having spent nine months -- nine months, nine terms in the united states congress, some would say and i would agree that my timing in terms of leaving was impeccable. [laughter] this is the second time that the center has hosted a public address by the former president of pakistan, pervez musharraf, a fact that underscores the center's intense interest in pakistan and its commitment to providing better communication and understanding between pakistan and the united states. pakistan and u.s./pakistan
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relationships are one of the center's highest priorities. our asia program organizes public events on pakistan on a monthly basis. senior pakistani officials also regularly speak here. earlier this spring we hosted a public address by pakistan's finance minister. we bring pakistani scholars and journalists to the center as visiting scholars. in addition to our regular fellowship competitions open to scholars of all nationalities, the center and its asia program sponsor an annual competition open only to pakistani scholars. i'm pleased to see one of those scholars whose new book on afghanistan was written while he was a wilson center pakistan scholar is with us today. where are you? please, stand. welcome. welcome. our asia program has also undertaken an extensive review of the u.s. economic assistance program to pakistan and will
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roll out the conclusions and recommendations of that study later this year. some of you may have noticed, i certainly noticed, that the house foreign affairs committee yesterday fenced -- that means sort of walled off -- funding both for economic assistance and be military assistance to pakistan until the president certifies that there is adequate cooperation on counterterrorism. that's just one house committee, but that's a move that some feel, including me, may go in the wrong direction. economic assistance, i would argue, is absolutely crucial. president musharraf's speech this morning comes at a timely moment. relations between our two countries are more strained today than at any time in the past ten years. each of our countries needs the other for the achievement of important strategic objectives, yet most of the public discussion of the bilateral relationship focuses on our divisions and our disagreements.
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perhaps today's session will serve to remind both pakistanis and americans that we have a commonality of interests in countering terror threats, jump-starting stalled economies and recovering after calamitous earthquakes and floods. as a member of congress over nine terms, as i said, i belong to the pakistan-american caucus and visited the region over 20 time. i also represented a large and prosperous pakistani-american community in los angeles, many of whom president musharraf knows very well. i saw much beauty in pakistan, especially in places like lahore. but i also saw the devastation in if swat after the epic floods and the barrenness of the tribal areas separating pakistan and afghanistan. general musharraf was a new president on 9/11 and spent the next seven years in that job as our world changed radically. president musharraf, a career
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army officer and a veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars against india, called allied pakistan with the united states. in what i believe was the misnamed war on terror. surely, it was a war against al-qaeda. and president musharraf was our ally in that effort. he allowed troops access to pakistani military airports and bases as well as lo logistical d other support. it was and remains a turbulent time. the good news was a serious effort at educational and economic reform. things that are now stalled, um, because of more recent developments. the embarrassing news was the discovery in 2005 that the nuclear bomb, aq khan, sold technology to north korea and elsewhere. then there was the protests by the legal community of the validity of the 2007
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presidential election. the lek -- declaration of a state of emergency, the horrifying assassination of benazir bhutto and a transition of power. hard as all that was, events since have been even more challenging. the takedown of osama bin laden, something that many of us applaud, has exposed deep conflicts. the pakistani government recently ordered 200 u.s. special forces trainers to leave the country, and that resulted in a suspension by the obama white house of $800 million in u.s. military aid. yesterday, as i said, congress has taken a more severe position or at least a committee of congress, we'll have to see where that goes. but the bottom line is both sides are frustrated and angry. but both also understand how crucial it is for our relationship to survive. president musharraf now resides in the u.k. but travels
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extensively in the u.s. and elsewhere. last fall he announced the creation of a new political party, the all-pakistan muslim league, and his intention to return to pakistan before the next general election in 2013. before asking president musharraf to come to the podium, i want to acknowledge the wilson center council and alicense members who i -- alliance members who i think are with us today, jenny, margaret goodman, tom and claudia hentless. welcome. and can, please, any one of you who wants to join the wilson council, this is not a hard thing to do. following his remarks, president musharraf has agreed to take questions from the audience. the able director of our asia program, bob hathaway, who's sitting right there, will moderate that part of this morning's session. and so, president musharraf, welcome back to the wilson center. it is my honor to introduce
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president, former president and perhaps future president, pervez musharraf, of the country of pakistan. [applause] [speaking in native tongue] congresswoman jane harman, mr. bob hathaway, ladies and gentlemen, it is, indeed, my proud privilege to have been given this opportunity of talking to you, and i'm extremely grateful to the woodrow wilson center for affording this opportunitiment opportunitiment -- opportunity. i intend talking to you for about maximum half an hour, and then, and that will set the stage for, i hope, a lively q&a session. i will speak, basically, on pakistan and the region.
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i call it, call the subject as pakistan a reality check. i will highlight significant issues in pakistan and the region, as i said, to set the stage for a lively q&a session. ladies and gentlemen, pakistan today finds itself in the eye of the terrorism storm. an environment of controversies, contradictions, mutual suspicions prevail which is extremely detrimental and weakens our joint effort of global war on terror. the situation demands that clearer understanding of ground realities in south asia, bridging the trust deficit and also, may i say, developing a unity of talk and action among all the players fighting war on terror in south asia.
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may i also venture to say blame games, rigidity, arrogance, insensitivity to each other's national interests is certainly very counterproductive. and it definitely saddens me to see the deteriorating pakistan/united states relations after especially my period between 2000 and 2008. which saw mutual understanding, mutual cooperation and be understanding -- and understanding the role that both of us play in fighting the war on terror. ladies and gentlemen, i would like to start by analyzing the existing environment in its historical perspective. how did religious militancy get
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introduced into the region and into pakistan especially? is pakistan the victim of terrorism, or is it the perpetrator or terrorism? very briefly i would like to take a historical overview to put facts in front of you. in 1979, ladies and gentlemen, soviet union invaded afghanistan, and as a result the united states and pakistan in their own relative interests decided to launch a jihad, a holy war, in afghanistan against the soviet union. we called it a jihad, a holy war, because we wanted to draw mujahideen, holy warriors, from all over the muslim world. and we succeeded in drawing about 25 to 30,000 mujahideen
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into afghanistan. not only that, we also trained, armed and inducted taliban from the -- [inaudible] of the tribal agencies and sent them into afghanistan. so, therefore, from '79 to '89, for ten long years, we introduced religious militancy in the form of jihad and mujahideen into afghanistan. especially so because in this period there lives in afghanistan decided to abandon afghanistan. so the fight against the soviets was spearheaded by religious militant groups. then in 1989 to our west in indian-held kashmir, a freedom struggle erupted. and this had tremendous public sympathy in pakistan.
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dozens of mujahideen groups, the much-maligned names of aut, hezbollah mujahideen, jm, all these are products of the '90s. they sprung up in pakistan, great public sympathy. people volunteering to go to kashmir and fight the indian army. so this introduced more religious militancy in our east and be our west. '89 to 2001, 9/11. 12 years, i call this period of disaster when the united states summarily decided to quit the region. without any rehabilitation or resettlement of the 25,000 mujahideen who were armed to the teeth and didn't know anything other than fighting. this resulted in ethnic war
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warlordism with dozens of ethnic groups fighting each other, destroying and ravaging afghanistan. these ma screw ha dean -- mujahideen who were brought between '197 t and '89, ladies and gentlemen, then coalesced into al-qaeda. osama bin laden, al-zawahiri, all these names are all those who came in the decade of a oh 79-'89. as if this was not enough n1996 we saw the rise of the taliban. and they swept across afghanistan controlling 90% of afghanistan. this fighting eruption -- taliban, al-qaeda -- saw four million refugees into pakistan. the introduction of a gun, kalashnikov, and drug culture. finally in 9/11, the terrible,
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disastrous terrorist attack on the world trade center and the u.s. military offense e in afghanistan -- offensive in afghanistan, all al-qaeda and taliban ran into the mountains and be cities of pakistan. therefore, ladies and gentlemen, religious mill tap si we saw -- militancy we saw in the east in the indian-held kashmir, religious militancy in afghanistan is followed entirely on -- has fallen entirely on pakistan in the center. this is how religious militancy was introduced. we are not the perpetrators. the situation in pakistan was perfectly normal until 1979, but things started getting disturbed after that for the reasons that i've told. pakistan, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, faces four menaces, i
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would say. number one is the menace of al-qaeda who are there in our mountains. but i think over time they are reduced in numbers. the second menace is taliban who were dismantleed, their organization totally disrupted in this area after 9/11. but in 2004 there were the resurgence of the taliban, and now it is the taliban who hold strength in afghanistan and in the tribal agency of pakistan and trying to spread beyond. this is the second menace. the third is these taliban trying to spread their views of our religion, islam, and trying to impose it on several districts of pakistan in northwest frontier province and beyond in pakistan. the fourth menace is extremists
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within our society. they are, first of all, the mujahideen, as i said, who have public sympathy going into indian-held kashmir and, secondly, some pockets where in pakistan some people in pakistan, extremists, developing a nexus with the taliban in the tribal agencies and be beyond in afghanistan. this extremism within our society. ladies and gentlemen, may i say that pakistan's national social fabric has been torn asunder beyond 1979. so we are a victim of all that has historically happened in our area. i would like to touch on this very touchy issue, why is there so much antipath think in
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afghanistan against the united states? this is certainly worrisome, troublesome because we are supposed to be fighting global war on terror together. so while the government is onboard strategically aligned towards defeating terrorism, defeating al-qaeda and taliban, the public view of united states is bad. may i venture to give some reasons? until 1989, ladies and gentlemen, for 43 years from '47 to '89 we were aligned with the west in the cold war period when there was a bipolar world. we were with the united states and the west, strategic ally for 42 years. we fought the soviets for ten years along with the united states. everything was happening from act -- from pakistan, and
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pakistan was allowing everything. there was no such antipathy against the united states until 1989. then what happened after 1989 is the question that we need to ask ourselves. may i say that in 1989 or 1990 united states decides to change strategic orientation. they abandoned the place, and they have a strategic policy shift against pakistan towards india. so the ally of 42 years is put under sanctions, and the, may i venture to say the enemy of those 42 years -- because india was always in the eastern camp with soviet union -- became the strategic ally. this was seen in the public of pakistan as pakistan having been used and ditched and betrayed.
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then comes the united states' nuclear policy. appeasement, strategic cooperation with india, negative, very negative against pakistan. this is seen as artisan, it is seen as animosity against pakistan's national sensitivity, national interest. our nuclear capability to every most illiterate man in the streets of pakistan is as pride, is the pride of pakistan because that guarantees us security. it guarantees against the existential threat that pakistan has been facing where we have fought three wars with india. this is the guarantee of our integrity and security. it is the pride of everybody.
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so anyone casting a negative eye towards our nuclear potential is seen very negatively in the public eye. then, of course, the indiscriminate drone attacks with the increasing collateral damage, also the strike against osama bin laden with the violation of our sovereignty as seen by the people of pakistan are all seen very negatively. the 9/11 and its aftermath when i decided to join the coalition had divided opinions in pakistan. people use today ask me -- used to ask me everywhere after my decision, what makes me believe that united states will again not misuse us, use us, rather,
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and then abandon us and betray us? and the events of the united states maybe deciding to quit in 20whether the -- i don't know whether they destabilize afghanistan or maybe not and leave the area is that the reality? because then pakistan will have to again fend for itself when the situation either moves back to 1989 where all ethnic groups are fighting each other because the vacuum that gets created in afghanistan and an unstable government, or it may go back to 1996 with taliban on one side, and the ethnic groups or northern alliance, the use becks, tajiks on the other side. i personally believe if you
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leave an unstable afghanistan without stabilizing afghanistan politically, because taliban is not a month list under -- monolith under one head. haqqani, taliban, dtp of pakistan is a taliban, tnsm of pakistan is taliban. his brother leading, now he's been killed, all of them are not in tandem with each other. in fact, many in afghanistan fight each other. so, therefore, it's not a monolith. so maybe we go back to 1989 where there'll be chaos, confusion and anarchy, everyone fighting each other. pakistan alone, again, fending for itself. so this was why, as i said, an
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antipathy against the united states. why is there a confidence and trust deficit between the united states and pakistan? which has got exacerbated all along, no trust at all in the last one and a half years, i think, finally leading to the action of osama bin laden which absolutely displays the lack of trust, lack of confidence between the two countries. very briefly, partially maybe it started back in be my time, in 2004 or '5 when i had a, i had a strategy of weaning the pashtun from the taliban, and, therefore, we started by addressing, putting together local jirgas, a tribal meeting of elders.
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thought we'd hold tribal jirgas and drew these from the taliban because my view was that all taliban are pashtun, but all pashtuns are not taliban. therefore, we must not, we must take pashtun away and give them their right of being in the dominant political position of government in kabul, in afghanistan. and may i venture to say that even united states should have, actually, weaned away pashtuns from the taliban in afghanistan and put them in government in kabul. this window of opportunity was available between 2002 and 2004, i think. because taliban were defeated, dismantled, military had developed in that they created the successful environment, a position of, of void and vacuum
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in afghanistan. but change of policy was required from military instrument to political instrument of weaning the pashtuns and making them join and putting them in the dominant position in government and in kabul. this two-year opportunity, i think, was missed. i call this a great blunder seen from hindsight now. this is one of the things now when i started going towards the tribal jirgas and dealing or weaning away pashtuns, this was seen as if i was dealing with taliban. which is farthest from the fact. because we don't know who is taliban, who is pashtun when 150 people are sitting in this tribal jirga, as i said. each one of them is carrying a
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weapon, each one of them has a beard, all of them are similar looking. but however my strategy was even if 50% are the genuine people, pashtuns who would like to not be associated with taliban, we should go ahead and use them against the other 50% who may be double crossing. but, however, that was seen as if i was playing a double game while all my efforts that the other -- they are the ones who have attacked me personally, so how could i be playing a double game? so this was partial misunderstanding, especially in the media as questions asked of me, myself. then may i also add at times, in my time at least, tendency of the united states to leaving the strategic aspect of cooperation which ought to be addressed only, but getting into sometimes micromanagement at the
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modalities of that strategy and the tactics of that strategy. then, of course, pakistan not operating in north waziristan against the haqqani group has led to definite lowering of trust and confidence. and to top it all, osama bin laden being caught in abbottbad and the issue of competency or negligence. i, personally, with all my race neal think it is an absolute case of negligence and not complicity. i would be prepared to answer any questions on that. but an -- [inaudible] of the highest degree. however, the perception is on complicity, i do understand. therefore, the lack of trust. now, i would like to talk of india/pakistan relations very, very briefly. ladies and gentlemen, there have been confrontationists right
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from our independence in '47. we fought the first war in '48, then '65 and '71. i personally have been part of '65 and '71 wars both. pakistan suffered an exist existential threat. we quantity tied this defence into force levels of army, navy, air force and maintained that level throughout. 1974 india was nuclear. therefore, the strategy of minimum defensive deterrence becomes untenable because now an uncopse vexal -- unconventional morgue gets introduced. therefore, pakistan decides to, again, reestablish the strategy of deterrence now in the unconventional mode. therefore, the decision to go nuclear. and the nuclear race starts, nuclear and missile race starts.
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in 1998 india decides to explode it device again, upsets the balance again and doubts that pakistan is nuclear or not. pakistan decides to i've to the world and to end -- decides to prove to the world and to india that we are nuclear, so we tested out one also. so that is how this whole nuclear issue got introduced, the nuclear missile race got introduced. my efforts, ladies and gentlemen, was to rapprochement. a lot of people in india said you fought war and you're a soldier, you're a general, you're a dictator, so how are you for peace? i always told them that i am off war, yes, indeed, i have fought wars, but i'm a man for peace because i know the ravages of war more than maybe any one of
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you. so, therefore, i believed in peace in the region very strongly, and i went for a rapprochement with india. and we were moving forward towards resolution of all our disputes, the three disputes, and we were almost on the level, at the point of drafting an agreement. and i'm very glad my foreign secretary, he knows because he was involve in the that draft -- involved in that draft. we were moving ahead but, unfortunately, we let that fleeting moment slip. and i personally feel there are three qualities required in leadership on both sides when you are trying to reach an agreement or a deal. firstly, quality of sincerity from head and heart. maybe you want to l -- solve the issue, dispute for the sake of
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countries and for many reasons. secondly, flexibility of trying to accommodate each other's points of views. but the third, and can i think these two qualities, i think, were there in me and in the prime minister also, may i say very frankly. i saw sincerity and flexibility in it. but the third quality is a quality of boldness and courage where when you reach a deal, it has to be halfway, meeting half way, and it has to be a give and take. and it is the give party which both parties have to give something to take something. that is where they get scared because there will be agitation in their backyard, in their extremists in both countries. so it is unfortunate that boldness, while required and while you have to grasp fleeting opportunities if you are not fast enough, fleeting opportunities do not last forever.
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it's unfortunate that we missed the fleeting opportunity, and we are back to square one now. as far as pakistan/india is concerned. we are trying to restart now, i think. finally, ladies and gentlemen, the way ahead, what is the way ahead? these are the realities, historical realities, the existing realities. what is the way ahead? united states and pakistan must restore trust. confrontation would be most unwise. how to do that is the question. on pakistan side i personally believe we must convince the world and the united states that the issue of osama bin laden was not complicity, it was negligence of a very monumental order, certainly.
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and also why pakistan is not acting against the haqqani group in north waziristan which is causing a lot of anxiety in here, in the united states. the united states, may i say, must show concern to our sensitivities. the violation of our sovereignty, the drone attacks, the indiscriminate drone attacks causing collateral damage of women and children and also nuclear attitude towards our nuclear capability. may i suggest that a more balanced treatment of pakistan and india and understanding that pakistan and nuclear capability is because of it existential threat. may i say it's right. pakistan is also an existential threat. therefore, the right to defend ourselves and have this
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deterrent capability in the conventional and unconventional is our right, should not be looked negative ri at. negatively at. then resolving the kashmir dispute is essential because extremism in pakistan, as i said, and terrorism in pakistan now is also because of these mujahideen groups, independent mujahideen groups recruiting people, sending them into kashmir. we must resolve the kashmir dispute. i don't see anyone, any leader visiting india now or in the past maybe. telling india, go ahead, resolve the kashmir dispute. even a word on that. while from india one does hear
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some advice to pakistan. may i also say with all frankness and bluntness that i though that india is trying to create an anti-pakistan afghanistan. this must not be allowed. because then pakistan has to fend for itself. pakistan has to evaluate what, how does it manage all this? and i say this with authority of all the intelligence that i had, and also may i say that all intelligence, diplomats, security people, military of afghanistan go for training to india. in spite of my offers all along for free training in pakistan,
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not one came to pakistan. then, of course, internally pakistan, ladies and gentlemen, has to deal boldly against extremism in our society other than terrorism. al-qaeda, taliban, extremism in our society, and i have given a five-point agenda. first of all, stop the misuse and promotion of militancy from mosque of pakistan. stop publication, publications, handbills, posters, pamphlets urging people towards militancy, extremism. ban publication, ban distribution and selling. thirdly, ban extremist organizations who are promoting extremism and terrorism in
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pakistan and abroad. fourthly, which we did modify the syllabus and curriculum in the religious teaching in pakistan in the schools where maybe sectarian hatred was being done. and louisiana lastly, evolve a strategy to mainstream the taliban in the -- [inaudible] lastly on a tactical issue, maybe pakistan army with all it commitments, maybe a bit overstretched. the better way of dealing which i personally think is through the southern line force of frontier -- [inaudible] therefore, we need to raise much more frontier corps and equip them with tanks and guns. and they are because they are ethnically the same as tribal
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agencies, they would be more acceptable to be fighting and dealing with terrorism than pakistan army which is taken to be an alien army because we are dominated with people from punjab. well, to conclude, ladies and gentlemen, it is easier said than done, whatever i've said. there is tremendous complexity in all that i've said. pakistan certainly needs a strong, stable, honest government which understands the magnitude of the task involved, has the following of the people of pakistan and also shows courage and resolve to change. that is the first requirement this pakistan it. itself. presently, there is a leadership vacuum in pakistan. no leader and not one of the two main political parties, i personally feel, is capable of
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delivering to pakistan. therefore, the requirement in pakistan by pakistanis themselves is to break the political status quo. and come in with another political alternative. the solution lies in a democratic political dispensation which breaks the political status quo. therefore, all eyes are on the 2013 elections. we have to break the political status quo. otherwise, i am afraid, and i suspect that conditions in afghanistan may carry on going as they are going. therefore, the i'm allowed to use saddam hussein's charm, the next election is going to be the
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mother of all elections. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. >> well, thank you very much, mr. president, for a very frank and forceful presentation and for sharing, um, your considerable experience with us today. we have not only this room completely filled, but also people in several other rooms. let me assure those who are not physically here that you will have an opportunity to write questions and be send them to me, and i will be calling on some of you in other rooms as well. before we move to the q&a part of our program, um, i want to acknowledge one person, um, is at least one former u.s. ambassador to pakistan in the room today, bill mylum down here
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in the front. i don't see others. i hope i vice president ignored anyone else. but if i have, welcome to others as well. president musharraf, i'm going to take advantage of ownership of the microphone to ask the first question. um, all of us have wished we could do do have-overs to revera decision that we have made or a change in action we are taken to follow a course other than the one we chose. what are your do-others as you look back on your year as, your years as president? what actions did you take, what decisions did you make that with the benefit of hindsight you wish you could do over? and what would you have done differently? [laughter] >> thank you very much. well, i have governed pakistan
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directly or indirectly for eight or nine years. i always thought my duties to my nation as a leader was to, toward the welfare of the people and the development of the state. and may i say that on both counts pakistan was on the rise, pakistan performed admirably while we were a failed or default bed state in 1999. in 2006 we were one of the ten next countries economically viable in the world. this a transformation. and each socioeconomic indicator for the people and for the state was political. when i left in 2008, all the indicators were still positive. so, therefore, i did not leave when pakistan was on a downside. i left when pakistan was on a growth path.
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so, therefore, frankly, if i have to come back, i do not have to reinvent the wheel. whatever i did i need to repeat because pakistan is headed again towards a departed state. so one has to repeat. however, one has to see reality. what happened that i had to leave? it was knotts the socioeconomic down turn of pakistan, but my popularity which have about 84%, maybe, in if 2007, early 2007. so seven years took a down slide in 2007 and '8 because of certain elements, because of my moving against the judiciary which had a reason. i won't go into the details. but i took constitution to constitutional and legal action against in that respect. but, however, it led to pretty
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siization and -- politicization and street protests and then benazir bhutto's coming back to afghanistan, and while she is coming back to pakistan because she came back violating an agreement with me not to come back before elections, and then she got assassinated. it led to a total swing against my political supporters and me this favor of the present government and people's party. my regret maybe which i don't know anyone knows. the deal that i struck with benazir bhutto where i gave in explain for her not coming before elections the cases, the corruption cases against her and her husband in allowing that to be set aside through something called nro. that is my regret. because it led to a lot of my
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popularity going down and a lot of, within pakistan, anti feelings against that. so that is my regret. but now we're in the political climate because i know pakistan, what pakistan is going through, and i feel that people there are not being able to manage, and i see that the old political alternative is not good enough. therefore, i thought that i considered whether i will be able to play a role. and may i say with a poor performance be of the government -- performance of the government and be of the parties, my standing is, again, interestingly, the it is going up again. therefore, i thought maybe trying and changing pakistan to the better is better than shot trying at all. therefore, i will go back to pakistan, and i've already announced that i'll go on the
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23rd of march, 2012. i will go back. >> thank you. president harman, you have a question. >> yes. thank you, mr. president, for putting many issues on the table, and i know there are many other questions. b you said that the issue of negligence versus complicity with respect to osama bin laden was you would entertain that as the subject of a question, so here it is. um, most people believe that the complex was built, and he move inside while you were president of pakistan. it is the, obviously, yet unclear who knew about that and be whether there was, as you said, negligence or come compli. but it is fair to speculate that local officials knew about it because there must have been some permitting and some knowledge that this larger than any other complex was being built in the midst of this pill
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million tear garrison. so my question to you is, as president, looking pack at your presidency in 2005, 2006, to you -- do you bear any responsibility for either the negligence or the complicity that went on when osama bin laden move today abbotabad? >> well, thank you. whether anyone believes it or not, let me say with confidence that i did not know. so, therefore, if he was there for five years and two years of that five years were during my time, i confidently and surely say it was not come misty because i am very sure of one thing; thatin. whether one -- that i didn't know. the other issue is if i knew. first of all, your point of building, constructing, i mean, if we are to hide somebody, do we have to construct a house for
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him? there are hundreds of houses available all over to put him in. and second hi, if he was -- secondly, if he was to be put there, wouldn't there be some forward and some security that -- guard and some security that he does not leave the place? is such a valuable target, such a valuable personality. shouldn't someone use it as a bargaining chip? there was nobody around. he could move in and out. now, if at aural intelligence knew or i knew or subsequently is knew, cia move inside the vicinity in a safehouse, months i leave. i was not there then, of course. now, the if isi is holding a man there and, obviously, they she d have been watching and protecting, how could i is si be watching bin laden in that house without isi knowing?
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they would have whisked him away if they were colluding and if this was complicity. so i think it doesn't stand to any logic at all. may i say this issue of garrison towns, if anyone has seen abbottabad, it is a city of about 800,000 people. we listen to a garrison town, and it appears as if it's -- [inaudible] con stained inside that osama bin laden has come. it's an open town. the loop of the northern area is every man going through. the civil and military, about 800 pound in be people -- [inaudible] there are educational institutions. and this house, frankly, i haven't seen it physically, but i have seen it on the it's. you may -- on the television. you may find it odd.
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i don't find it odd at aural. what is so odd about a house? it's a normal, slightly on the large side house. it has high walls. i don't think it has such high walls. people, pashtuns of frontier province have very high walls. this is their custom. so i don't want find this house to be odd which people sitting here because you don't have walls around your houses. [laughter] it's not hard at all for a person from pakistan and in the frontier province. so i think in all fairness, i think there was no complicity. there was negligence of the highest order. in my time if it wasn't possible that the army and isi was hiding from me, that when i say i didn't know it, is it possible the army and isi were hiding from me? no, 100 times.
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not possible. because i am from the army. they are my people. if at all at the top level there were some directions to protect or hide osama bin lad season and not tell me, the second and third tier would tell me because i have been with them. maybe i have fought wars with them, maybe they were my students in college, maybe they sit under me. they would come to me. how is it possible that they will not tell me? this is not possible at all so, therefore, i think there was no complicity. because i think if we carry on on this part, there was complicity, this is very, very serious, indeed. relation, united states has all the right to be against pakistan if it, ultimately, comes to believe that it was genuinely people were hiding him, people were complicit, people were --
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army and isi was cheating, id say i don't think that is the case. and that must be upside because that will be -- understood because that will be the start point in trying to reestablish trust and confidence in each other. .. >> he's always had very good relationship with china. pakistan certainly has economic relations with china.
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chinese investment in pakistan. pakistan can -- pakistan economy can certainly benefit through relations with china. and, therefore, it has. and it maintains good relations with china. but may i say, whether it should concern the united states, i think in this world, one has to see diplomatic relations on a bilateral basis. the united states interest or association, corporation with india or with pakistan, yes, it should. if it goes against pakistan interests with united states. between countries or to be seen on a bilateral basis. pakistan should not be responsible about india/u.s. relations as long as u.s./pakistan relations are
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normal. the united states should not bother about china/pakistan relations as long as pakistan and united states relations are normal. so i think pakistan certainly -- and every country in the world, diplomatic relations -- i don't think there's any love affair that goes on between two countries. there are always national interests. every country has national interests which are pursued and pushing those international interests you formulate that your foreign policy and you act accordingly. so pakistan national interest certainly is to maintain very good relations with united states and also with china. >> dennis cooks. >> dennis cooks from the woodrow wilson center. i wonder if you wouldn't mind, mr. president, elaborating on your initiative on kashmir because there is a lot of talk
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in the press and i think your foreign minister said you were just words away practically from an agreement. i wonder if you wouldn't mind telling us what roughly you had in mind or you have in mind for an agreement -- what do you think would be possible? >> yeah, sure. i take pride in the fact that we formulated a deal. i would like to elaborate those parameters. number 1, that there should be a graduated demilitarization. on the line of control and also where they are being harassed because of military presence. then maximum self-governance to be given to the people of kashmir.
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third, having some kind of an overwatch mechanism of indians, pakistanis and kashmiris to oversee the self-governance, oversee. next, take the line of control which is the main bone of contention, why india would like to have a line of control to have a permanent border, pakistan is the line of control of conflict. so my idea was to make the line of control irrelevant by opening as many sites, launching sites as possible. i identified six and allowing that open trade, open free movement of people, make the line of control irrelevant. but these were the broad parameters which we talked,
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could we test for maybe 15 years and then we analyze whether the agreement is going to well. and maybe carry out some modification some adjustments to further fine-tune the agreement. that's the broad parameters and i think we were drafting on these lines. >> if we can't squeeze in one last question. here. wait till the microphone comes and then please identify yourself. >> mr. president, don crane. a claim often made in the u.s. media is that there are elements in the isi that are extremists and i would like to know your view on whether that's true. and if so, why can't the government make the necessary reforms or is it possible that there's no interest in such
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reform? >> i think, first of all, it's officered by the militaries. so active within the army, the people come from all segments of society, from all over pakistan, all provinces. they are affected by the environment from which they come. but however, when they joined the army, the training and the discipline that they come under, i personally think they fall in line with directions, policies off the top which is a very disciplined army which is under the discipline of the seniors. now, i cannot rule out the possibility of any element having sympathy towards taliban
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or al-qaeda. but i'm very tour that if such element is found disturbing the environment, they are dealt with very strongly by the military. and we have very strong code of military law. i'm very sure that the policy we have to be more concerned with the intention, with the policy, with the strategy at the top level. and i'm very sure the strategy could be extremism and even the people of pakistan from whatever strata an officer is coming, today people are fed up over the bomb blasts or almost about 35, 40,000 people have been killed. who is killing them? who's doing the bomb blasts? almost about 4,000 people of our army men have been killed.
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who is killing them? who are they fighting? they're fighting taliban and al-qaeda. and it is again the same taliban, the same al-qaeda with extremists in our society who are carrying out the bomb blasts. the people are fed up and people are against it. so i personally feel that while i cannot rule out for sure that there's not one element who may be sympathetic towards taliban, i'm very sure that the general direction of isi and the military is very positive. and also may i say people get fostered in their time and fostered out. i in my time i rotated officers twice in my years for the reason that they were dealing with taliban since 1979, 1979 to '89, taliban mujahedeen were our heroes so we were aiding them.
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'89 to 2001, that was new situation where pakistan with dealing with ourselves. we had our own strategy and policy. and then come 9/11 and after that, now with taliban they are now enemies. isi has been adjusting and readjusting according to the policy of the country. we must give credit to isi for adjusting and readjusting and then readjusting attitudes towards people, so i think -- i don't think one should suspect isi and one should sympathize if at all there is some element in sight, help and sympathize which is not the direction of the entire isi and the entire army. maybe it's the folly of some. helping and identifying them and be sympathetic that this is not the rule.
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it's the exception. >> well, mr. president, unfortunately, we have far more questions than we have time. and i'm aware that you've got a very tight schedule so i think we better wrap this up. before we adjourn, i'd like to make two brief announcements. all of you are here today because you have a keen interest in pakistan and afghanistan and u.s. and pakistan relations but i would like to take this opportunity to invite you back here next wednesday when we will have a book launch for a new book by our former pakistan scholar and pakistan foreign secretary riaz khan who has just in the last week or so published a brand-new book on these same topics so this is next week. so we welcome you to join us for that event. the second and last announcement i would make is because president musharraf and his party do need to get out of here
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quickly, if you could remain in your seats until the president and his party do exit the auditorium, we'd greatly appreciate that. now if you would join me in thanking president musharraf for his comments. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> president obama addresses the national council of the la raza
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conference and latino expo today. the group says it's the largest latino gathering of the year for community leaders, activists and elected and appointed officials. you can watch live coverage here on c-span2 at 12:45 eastern and we'll have live coverage of the u.s. senate meeting at 2 eastern. senators will begin with general speeches before turning to judicial nominations at 4:30 eastern. >> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the
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world and particularly in american politics, and particularly in the congress, it's not so hard. c-span has a digital online archive that goes back to '79 or -- >> 1987. >> 1987. where you can basically watch anything that happened in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. like there are sources of information that were unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to follow washington with instant access to events from the white house, to committee rooms and the house and senate chambers, all searchable, shareable and free. the peabody award winning c-span video library. it's washington your way. >> the senate subcommittee recently looked at the federal government's response and recovery in the storms that were in the south and midwest this spring.
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witnesses begin the deputy administrator of the federal emergency management agency and the top management officials from arkansas and mississippi. we'll also hear from the head of the chamber of commerce from jennifer lopez, where a late may tornado killed more than 150 people. arkansas democrat mark pryor chairs this 90-minute hearing. >> our leagues who are either here or are the way because apparently we have many on the way. we're just finishing the various caucus lunches so it sounds like we have several people running over here. what i would like to do is go ahead thank y'all for being here today. i know this is a very busy time for everyone here and i really appreciate y'all coming to washington or at least coming down here and spending your day with us here. i definitely would like to say that we are here to assess the progress being made in recovering from this spring's devastating tornado, storms and floods. we'll also discuss how to pick up the pieces from these recent
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disasters and build back better. the panelists we have convened here today represent some of the states and communities that were the hardest hit by these events. i would like to start by thanking them for taking time to be here, and you'll -- you all have been -- had your hands full as i said and had tough work at home to do and we appreciate your public service, your expertise, and all the things that you're doing for your home states. and also for the nation. today's witnesses will provide us with a better understanding of the disaster's impact on communities and economies. we hope to get a better understanding of the collaboration and communication across all levels of government and the private sector. and get insights into how individuals and businesses are picking themselves back up and restoring their communities. this was an especially tough spring for my state of arkansas as it has been for many others and the fight isn't over yet.
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there are currently in our state two active disasters with 60 of the state's 75 counties eligible for federal assistance. beginning in april historic flooding affected over 1,000 homes and completely destroyed 130. 19 people were killed and many are still homeless. before my constituents got the chance to assess the full scope of the damage, a series of devastating tornadoes through two arkansas counties destroying 2,000 homes and causing an estimated $4 million in damages. unfortunately, the situation i've described is not unique to arkansas. fema and the president have declared 53 major disasters this year and each one represents the same emotionally devastating loss of life and property. expensive damages to small businesses and critical infrastructure and costly disruptions to an already
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fragile state and local economies. recovering from a major disaster is expensive. in these challenging economic times the impact of repetitive disasters threatens the fiscal health of state and local governments. we can't rely on the federal government to fill the gaps left by insufficient state and federal funds. we are all facing tight budgets and difficult decisions and fema is not immune to this reality. in addition to a tighter budget, the day-to-day operations the scope of disaster operations has led to the projected $3 billion shortfall in fema's disaster relief fund. in light of these economic realities we must ask ourselves, how we can do more with less, how we can improve the efficiency of our response and recovery efforts in the wake of these disasters. moreover, how can we build back smarter, stronger, more resistant and resilient to future storms, tornadoes and
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flooding? we're all familiar with the facts about mitt gait. for every dollar for mitigation $4 is saved. mitigation creates safer communities by reducing the loss of life and property while also lessening the financial impact on federal, state and local governments. >> effective mitigation projects such as tornado shelters and safe rooms and also improved evacuations when a community is struck by disaster. again, i want to thank all of my colleagues for being here today. and i'd like to turn it over to senator paul, if you have an opening statement. >> thank you. good afternoon. i'd like to thank all of you for coming today and thank chairman pryor for having these hearings. i have great sympathy and condolences for those innop lynn
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and we had storms recently in florida kentucky and we had declaration of a disaster area. in today's hearings i think it's important for us to learn the lesson from these recent storms. one of the lessons i think may be that we get involved in so many routine storms that maybe we don't have enough money when we have truly catastrophic storms. that may be one of the lessons of katrina. like senator pryor, there, you know, have been increasing numbers of declarations of disaster. it's kind of hard to be against declaring disaster so we always declare disaster. and i think not every disaster is created equally. there are catastrophes like katrina and elsewhere and there are other disasters that people need help with but the question is can the federal government keep doing it? does the federal government have enough money to keep supplying endless amounts of money through fema? the president requested large
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increases in the budget. and the president has requested $46 trillion worth of spending over the next 10 years. unfortunately, we don't have 46 trillion. that will add $11 trillion to our debt. so we do have to make difficult choices and even in things where people are in need, we have to decide can we take care of every -- every natural occurrence that goes on or should we be referring the federal government's involvement for the catastrophic times when entire communities are wiped out and need help like katrina or in joplin's case. but i welcome these hearings and look forward from hearing from the panel. >> thank you, senator paul. let me say for my colleagues who are here what i was planning is go ahead and go to the panel and let them give their opening statements and what i would like to do is each one of these panelists, if possible, these witnesses, just take five minutes or hopefully less on your opening statement. again, i want to thank all of
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y'all for being here. i'm going to do a very brief introduction. we have one panelist -- i believe mr. o'brian who needs to catch a flight before the hearing ends so we'll try to direct our early questions to you, if that's possible. and -- but what i would like to do is go ahead and introduce all five together and we'll start with you, mr. certificaserino. he's the deputy administrator alt fema. he will discuss fema's role in assisting state and local governments in their recovery efforts. next is chris masingill who operates in a lot of this area that we're talking about. next is david maxwell. he's the operator of the arkansas department of emergency management that we call adem or adem sometimes in our state. you've been here many times before. we thank you again for being back. next is mike womack, he is the
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director of the mississippi emergency management agency and you've had your hands full and thank you for being here and our fifth witness is mr. rob o'brian and he's the president of the joplin area commerce and we've been pulling for you and your community very timely. we have a timing system if you can keep an eye on that and keep your statements to 5 minutes that would be grade. >> distinguished members of the subcommittee, it's a pleasure to be here today representing fema and also to discuss our response and our recovery efforts during the recent severe storms. as i mentioned, i had the opportunity to be in many of these disaster areas shortly after they happened, sometimes within hours in georgia when the tornadoes went through, the next day in mississippi, spent some time with mike looking in the areas back in d.c. and then in alabama both in rural as well as in tuscaloosa and then a few
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weeks in joplin within literally hours after the tornado went through joplin and most recently about a couple of weeks ago up in minot, north dakota, with the floods that are happening there and through that period of time, one of the things that i've been able to see is not only fema's response but also really the whole of community response that we've seen throughout the areas. the work that's been done by the people on the ground, both dave and mike and the people that they work for, as well as governors and the mayors and the first responders, the police officers, the firefighters, the emts have saved lives. and i think that's probably one of the most important things is the work that they've done on the ground has saved lives. and some of the mitigation efforts especially an example is in minot, north dakota, is the levees and the temporary levees and the flood fight that they put up with 5,000 structures literally underwater and 4,000
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homes under water, no lives lost. and i think that's important to note. that the work that people did, this example, no lives were lost due to mitigation of efforts. as administrator fugate says, it's not just fema, not the federal government, the local government, the tribes but it's also bringing together the nonprofit organizations. it's bringing together the faith-based community. i have some examples on that i'll touch on a little bit later but also the private sector, the great work the private sector has done during some of these disasters that have struck and probably the most important part of the team is the public and what they've been able to do. this is not something that fema has been -- is the lead on it. somebody asked me a question, i think, in joplin how is fema going to be able to respond to this but if it wasn't just fema we wouldn't be able. it's about bringing the whole team together the folks i
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mentioned. there's examples after examples. in joplin, for example, looking at what the faith-based community was able to do, the southern baptists were cooking food to be distributed in a red cross shelter, delivered by red cross people and a red cross shelter as well as salvation army shelters to help feed thousands and thousands of people. things that as the government is working together as part of the team is very important to bring together all members of that team. i look forward to answering the questions as we go forward. and in the interest of time, i'll stop. >> thank you. and i see that we've been joined by senator boozman and we would like to have senator boozman to come up here and have a seat if you would like to but thank you very much for joining us mr. bozeman. mr. masingill. >> thank you, senator pryor. thank you, members of the committee, my fellow panelists, senator, again thank you for the opportunity to be here today and share a different perspective with my role as the federal
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cochair of the delta regional authority that comprises eight states, 352 counties and parishes. during the month of april, the mississippi river basin received 600% of its annual rainfall in a three-week period. this unprecedented amount of rain would lead to a flood of historic proportions along the mississippi river and tested levee system that protected millions of families in the delta as never before. in late april and early may the governors of the states along the river declared states of emergency to prepare for the impeding flood and deltans began making preparations to protect their lives, homes and properties as best they could. over the next two weeks, the mississippi river rose to levels unseen since the 1927 flood. and in many locations, surprising those levels by several feet. the high water forced the army corps of engineers to breach the levee system in missouri and later opening the spillway in
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louisiana. throughout the ordeal the corps of engineers and local levee districts worked tirelessly to inspect, maintain and repair any levee issues that arose. throughout their diligence and hard work, the levee systems worked as designed and no failures of main line levees occurred. unfortunately, the levees along many of the tributaries of the mississippi did not fare as well. due to the massive quantities of water flowing down the main river channel as well as the significant rainfall across the region, it got into the main river channel were unable to drain or left their banks that were designed to contain them. the back-water flooding that resulted of the cause of the majority of the flood damage to many of the dra states. while a number of our member states were struck by devastating tornadoes, for which the dra offered its support and assistance, the majority of the damage in the dra territory caused by these storms manifested itself in this flooding that i just mentioned but my statements were
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primarily, senator, focused on that event. dra involvement throughout the -- it attempted to maintain two-way communications with local states and federal partners to the fullest extents possible. we saw great work from our federal partners and local partners and in the course of trying to maintain these communications did develop and hear and collect some unique challenges and feedback that i'd like to share. the significant loss in agriculture production is a serious challenge facing our region. agriculture is one of the leading industries in the mississippi delta and as a result of the flooding, a large percentage of that farm land producers and related to ag producers are facing economic burdens. the efficiency of the response, the public outreach and information sessions that were heralded across the area were well attended and received. there were a number of avenues to access those that had been
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flooded to ensure that there was sign-up of appropriate programs and aware of the assistance for which they were qualified. fema and sba are still manning stations at home, improvement and hardware stores across the region assisting with disaster-filing processes. the corps of engineers have praise from numerous entities across the region. however, overall local opinions seem to feel that the federal responses were managed but there are areas of concerns and a few things and complaints that i'd like to express. one, the first touch on government contracting process. with so many displaced workers in the region residents were displaced and displeased to see contracts being award by fema to companies located outside of the disaster-affected states. it's understood that the urgency of the response necessitates fema have prenegotiated contracts, we would like to see the recovery phase of a long events allow for more local participation particularly like through our local planning and development district. second, the dra has heard suggestions that groups
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assisting with recovery might adopt additional processes and plans to set up response teams by need not necessarily by agency. when families had questions about housing the answers were often sufficient but somewhat incomplete. and that answers might be determined by which government agency like usda or ngos like the red cross are visited first. comprehensive coordination between the government and relief organizations during a time of relevance might allow us to do a better job on this front. dra would be willing to help with that. third, states have noticed the rapid pace in which individual assistance was granted was not matched by the equal rapid public assistance response. we all recognize that while housing needs addressed through individual assistance are public assistance to help those repair their public infrastructure are important for the mississippi delta marine.
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finally, the dra heard information of the mitigation activities of private residents and businesses. under fema and sba guidelines are eligible through assistance of grant or loans. states have noticed numerous citizens and businesses spent their own money to build levees around their own property. new equipment, furniture relocate livestock, et cetera. despite the fact these precautions prevented more claims for federal disaster aid these mitigation are not eligible for any type of federal assistance in the form of a grant or a loan. alternating this regulation could have the added benefit of saving the federal government money without burdening property owners with significant costs for protecting their property. a couple of quick recommendations. communications between agencies, state government and locals could always be improved upon during and after our action -- or after-action. instituting a task force approach to communication between all involved parties allows everyone to be on the
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same page, have the same information and a clear understanding of the mission at hand. one particular note in dealing with long-term recovery, the dra strongly emphasizes my federal partners to look at the work with small businesses and the business and industries as a whole for whom a disaster could mean a loss of income, job reduction, elimination and even foreclosure. although the sba did a great job publicizing its disaster loans to the public we feel that a strong emphasis on that information on their economic recovery disaster loans as a life support for many of our small businesses. and the same token finally in keeping with the small business theme in disaster situation is important that we as government think about how best to coordinate responses and stronger ways for our businesses and industries and get them up and running as quickly as possible. as a model i would suggest us all studying the louisiana business emergency operations center, a joint partnership between louisiana economic development, the governor's office, homeland security and emergency preparedness, the
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national emergency system and the national advisory institute and the stevens disaster emergency management institute. this program works with businesses to improve the disaster preparedness, improve communications with businesses and industries before, during and after disaster events, rapidly develop sound economic impact estimates which is an issue that we're dealing with now in this disaster. the it will help court nate response effort and cord post-disaster economic recovery. during this recent round of spring storms the mississippi delta small business owners would have certainly, i think, benefited with a coordinated system of this nature to help them to get back to where they are. in conclusion, i applaud my federal partners for the work and the local partners with the diligence in dealing with these storms. and we particularly stand ready to assist them in any way possible. again, thank you, senators and chairman for the opportunity. >> thank you. mr. maxwell?
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>> thank you chairman pryor, and distinguished members of the subcommittee for this opportunity to testify today. arkansas has experienced numerous challenges over the past few years including 11 residentially declared disasters since 2008. we continue to share the vision of governor mike beebee which is to coordinate resources, expertise and leadership for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery while protecting lives, environment and property of the people of arkansas. last week, i had the opportunity to sit down with several of my counterparts with the central u.s. earthquake consortium. and all of those states, arkansas, kentucky, missouri, indiana, tennessee, and alabama had all experienced disasters this spring. and we noticed a common thing that i thought was very important to bring out. outside of commodities and a few
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other items, none of the states had requested resources from fema and i think that's a big deal. and i think we can attribute that to, one, the empg grant which has helped that preparedness efforts at the local level so that it starts there at the local level and you can continue to be there. we have several examples of the state homeland security -- or homeland security grant program, equipment purchases that assisted both with search and request, certainly in arkansas with interoperable communications, none of which would have been available to us without those grants. continuing to utilize emack the emergency management compact assistance it allowed other states to bring in other states and local entities to assist with our equipment and other resources rather than asking
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fema to provide those. so i think those are three very important programs that are out there. of course, today we're trying to look at mitigation as much as possible. a few examples from arkansas. safe rooms, we found in our tornadoes that the number of citizens had safe rooms that we know saved lives. and arkansas puts 1.25 million every year, state money, into offsetting the cost of safe rooms $1,000 or half the cost of the safe room, whichever is least. and within 10 days after the start of the state fiscal year we had already expended all of that money so we know people are building safe rooms. a school district was awarded a fema mittgration grant for a million dollars to build a safe
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room. the other part is west memphis, arkansas, several years ago had bought out 18 rapidtive areas and they will be buying out additional properties. and while i have just another minute, i will say that from our standpoint, our relationships with fema and the other parts of the federal family, the court, certainly, was very seamless in these disaster. regent 6, fema regent 6 had a liaison in our fema management center from almost day one and we had jfo up and running very quickly and money out on the streets very quickly. and the last disaster, although it took quite a while to get the
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declaration, we got it on a friday evening and by monday, we already had individual assistance money out on the streets. so i think that's important to note. with that, mr. chairman, i'll be happy to take any questions at the proper time. >> thank you. and is it mr. womack? >> usually i say womack but womack works too. >> womack, that's great. thank you. >> good afternoon, chairman pryor and ranking member paul and distinguished members of the committee, i've been a senior employee of the mississippi emergency management agency since 2002 and of my state's ability to respond to large scale events and the federal government's response capability. as you are aware, the state of mississippi was greatly impacted by tornadoes, severe storms and flooding that occurred in april and mississippi river flooding that occurred in may. mississippi received two federal disaster declarations and an
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emergency declaration for those events. nearly 11,500 households requested assistance from fema. more than 2,750 families received housing assistance grants and more than 300 homes were deemed destroyed by fema and individual assistance inspections. individual assistance grants for both disasters totaled more than $19 million. i will briefly summarize the response to these events and primarily my focus will be on how mississippi has and continues to reduce property damage and reduce the risks of the lives of our citizens. first, i totally agree with mr. maxwell that the homeland security grant program and the emergency management performance grant program over the past 10 years has made the nation a much stronger and safer place. i echo exactly what he said. the response was handled by state and local, a lot of mutual aid on the state level, some on the intrastate level but we have
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very capable first responders, and they were trained and exercised and equipped somewhat by these homeland security and emergency management grant funds. you know, as we get into a discussion about what the nation can afford, i would simply say that in my opinion, the money we spent over the last 10 years has been effectively used for the most part. second thing i'd like to focus on is the work of fema during the recent response. i thought it was exceptional. due to the devastation in the state of alabama and ongoing disasters in tennessee, georgia, north carolina, fema region 10 from the pacific-northwest led the group and strong leadership was provided by a terry quarrels the federal coordinating officer in region 4. the coordination between key federal agencies, fema, u.s. army corps of engineers and the u.s. geological society was also outstanding. as far as the recovery is
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concerned, overall, it was very good. i do feel there are some areas that need improvement. the individual assistance preliminary of damage assessment process was swift and efficient and showed great flexibility by the fema staff. the home inspection and individual assistance grant disbursement process for the vast majority of disaster survivors was excellent as well. however, an area that can be improved is coordination between individual assistance, the hazard mitigation program and the national flood insurance program substantial estimation program and i have addressed these programs to senior fema leadership and they're very receptive to the concerns that i have and other states have and i will follow up with those with the leadership. in the last 10 years mississippi has received 21 federal disaster declarations including hurricane katrina. thanks to the leadership of both governor barbour and great local elected officials we have truly rebuilt devastated areas both better and safer. we in mississippi have learned the importance of using hazard
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mitigation grant program funds to help prepare our residents for the potential impact the future storms and disasters may have on their lives. after hurricane katrina, governor barbour established the following priorities and funding levels for hazard and mitigation projects resulting from that disaster. funding levels fluctuated as they established the critical needs and submitted applications based on those needs. hazard mitigation planning, retrofit of critical facilities, acquisition of flood-damaged structures, upgrade of code and standards, group and individual shelters to include safe rooms, generators for critical facilities and in the coastal wind retrofit for residential structures. all of these programs have been tremendously effective in the state of mississippi. we have examples of how the safe room program has actually saved lives not just in this set of severe storms and tornadoes but others. i have specific examples in my
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written testimony that speak to this. while the use of hmgb funds were a major source of the state's mitigation efforts allocation of other federal grant funds tied to stronger standard as well has increased adoption of codes have also made mississippi safer and more resilient. many jurisdictions have adopted international building code standards, some because it was tied to federal funding, some because they knew it was the right thing to do. as identify previously stated, mississippi has seen many disasters in the last decade. some catastrophic on the local level and one catastrophic to the state, region and nation. we mississippians are proud to say that we have used our resources and those provided to us by the nation to rebuild by using proven mitigation and stringent code standard measures to build a much safer and more resilient state. thank you. >> thank you, mr. o'brian? >> thank you. good afternoon, chairman pryor,
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ranking member paul and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to be with you this afternoon and to talk about the may 22nd tornado, its impact and our response particularly regarding the business sector. regardless of the level of devastation that you may have seen on the news, the reality is, frankly, much worse. the tornado to date has claimed 159 lives, that makes it the worst tornado in terms of fatalities in more than six decades and the eighth worst in u.s. history. the storm which had winds close to 300 miles per hour in some locations carved the path nearly 8 miles long and averaging three-quarters of a mile wide through joplin and the adjoining village of duquesne. more than 4,000 homes were damaged or destroyed beyond repair. 9,000 people displaced for the long term. also in the path were hundreds of businesses.
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more than 450 in the direct path were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. that is approximately 20% of all of the businesses in our two communities. one of the largest employers st. johns medical center along with several big box retailers and hundreds of mom and pop operations were destroyed. collectively around 5,000 people worked at those firms. while it is a blow to our residents, we also know it's important to make sure that our residents are back in place as quickly as possible. as a bit of background our chamber of commerce is the lead economic development entity for the joplin region. as part of our development efforts, we also operate a business innovation center in an adjoining building which became an important asset in our response. by the end of the day on monday, following the tornado, we had arranged for additional volunteers and staff to answer the hundreds of calls and walk-ins that we were getting.
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that allowed our staff to be in the devastated area checking on all businesses. without landmarks or street signs, our team used gis maps and often just memory to find business location. often at those locations we found the owners or senior management in the debris. while there we could help assess their situation and as we learn more about these businesses, we continually updated information to hand back to them to make sure they were most current on the resources available to them. in addition to the team on the streets, we also had staff calling or texting business owners not found onsite. of the 450 firms our staff had personally communicated with 420 of them by the end of the third week. by the end of week 4, we had also talked with our other 800 chamber members a total of more than 1200 contacts in that first month. also on the monday after the tornado we were contacted by the
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sba, business recovery team. we had already arranged for counselors from the small business and technology development center at missouri southern state university to be at our innovation center to assist businesses. we invited the sba team to local there as well. by thursday, the business recovery center was in full operation. we understand the sba, business recovery team, does not often colocate with chambers or with sbpbcs. it has worked very well for us and for our businesses in an approach that we would highly recommend. we were also contacted immediately by fema's private sector support group. we understand that this is a relatively new approach. since it does not have direct funding for businesses, fema instead has partnerships with regional and national officials that can provide resources. through one of those connections we are receiving laptops for small businesses and for the school's technology program which provides training for
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students and company employees. as their time permitted, members of both the sba and the fema private sector teams is going to our staff members and going into the devastated areas to meet with businesses onsite. they have also been present at a number of chamber events to reach out to companies. our ability to provide quality assistance to the business sector is greatly enhanced by having this collaboration. as of today, more than 200 of the 450 businesses are back in operation. even if it's a temporary location. companies have gone to extraordinary lengths to retain their employees. we estimate nearly 3500 of the 5,000 employees impacted are still on payroll. joplin will recover, stronger than ever. we appreciate your interests and look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you. and i want to thank all the panelists for being here and all the witnesses for their great testimony. i'm going to exercise the
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prerogative of the chair here and change our order a little bit. i'm going to defer my question to the end. what i'd like to do is start with one round, five minutes each, and i'll go with senator paul first who's our ranking member and then in the order in which senator came which is blunt, cochran, senator boozman and mccaskill and we'll do a second round but i want the panelists to know we have three senators who are actually not members of the subcommittee but wanted to come and hear your testimony and ask questions. senator paul, why don't you lead off. >> thank you. mr. serino, when you give out fema payments do any payments go to people who have private insurance that cover their damage or how does that work? >> for people who -- what we do is we actually look and see what the needs of the individual are and depending what they have, if they have private insurance, we don't cover what is covered by private insurance. if there are some other needs that they may have, some
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short-term housing needs that are not covered by insurance, we'll take care of that. but if they have insurance, we don't cover it. >> you wouldn't cover to rebuild their building basically? >> correct. >> is there a mechanism for checking whether they get government assistance from another plan, like if you've got flooding and you have agricultural assistance versus fema? >> what we do is we aggregate the situation that comes if through our national processing center when people go through that and see what other things they have but on the flip side we'll see what they may qualify for. if they don't qualify for any fema loans and make sure they're is not getting it from somewhere else double-dipping if you will but also make sure there's other things that are available. >> the gao, i think, reported in 2006 that there was a billion dollars worth of improper payments. has that been addressed? who were those given to? remember reading about prisoners in baton rouge getting them from being displaced from prison. that was probably one of the most egregious i heard.
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where were those payments made to do better. >> what we've done is put a lot of controls in place after the gao report. and actually looked at what our error rate was. our error rate then was actually 10%. error rate on when we've been able to do that. with a lot of the controls that we put in place through our national processing center, working with a number of folks within fema and outside of fema we've gotten our error rate down to .3% on our error rate now. >> some people have reported that part of our problem, you know, we have a shortage of money up here. and part of our problem within fema is that we have a lot more disasters declared than we used to have. i think under reagan there were 28. under the first bush 44, you know, went 130 under bush and now we're up to 140 and i think we're up to 130 so far and we haven't hit hurricanes yet.
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i guess some of the concern we're declaring everything a disaster and that some of this should be, you know, maybe taken care of at the state level and not considered to be catastrophic and save our resources for things like katrina and rita and joplin and tuscaloosa. those were definitely disasters. but it's hard. it's hard to say no. and so i think everybody keeps say, yes, is there any direction towards trying to control the numbers? are we going to have 200 disasters? i think the president's plan takes us from, what, 11 billion to 30 billion over the next 10 years. i mean, we just don't have the money to keep doubling and tripling programs. is there any programs to limit or direct our resources better? >> currently a number of things that we're doing in place. first off, we have had some record-setting weather in this county, for example, tornadoes have been the highest number. the mississippi and the missouri river, record high level stages. so we're seeing a number of
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disasters in the large numbers mabel -- basically through some of the shifts in the weather patterns and what we've seen in disasters over the past -- within certainly the past year. we have been very busy. but at the same time we've also been going back and looking at some of our previous disasters that we've had and seeing how we can look at different money that we can deobligate so we can free up some dollars so we can meet and take care some of the issues now with current disasters. as we continue to move forward, we certainly do look at disasters. we actually follow what our rejections state and what the law states in the stafford act and what actually -- what we can and when we cannot pay a certain disaster. >> i have one final quick question, in kentucky the complaint i've heard it seems the money has been dispensed to my understanding and it goes to the states and the states dispense it again or make further decisions that they seem to think that the money is locked up in our state capitol
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and do you keep the tabs on the money once it gets to the states or are you done with the process? >> usually when it goes to the states, the state is the responsible party but we also work with the states and we work with the locals as well to try and ensure that the money goes through to continue on to -- where it's distributed to. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for holding this hearing, senator mccaskill are both here. we probably had as many disasters in missouri this year as in any year that anybody is aware of. we had the spring flood in the mississippi that mr. masingill mentioned and still challenges there because of that. the black river at poplar bluff flooded. the missouri river looks like it will be in flood stage through the entire state from the iowa border to st. louis for all of august. and then a number of tornadoes including one that hit the st. louis airport and the area around that.
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and the tornado that mr. o'brian described so well. so we've had lots of fema experience. and flooding in branson and at the lake there. lots of -- lots of problems. i think we've tried to deal with those the best way we could but, i know you got to leave and mr. o'brian you got to leave at 3:30, 4:00, good, so we've got a second round of questions then. i'm glad to have that. just to start with mr. o'brian, you've been in the middle of this every day now since the late may. do you have any recommendations that fema and the private sector could individually or collectively -- how they improved what we do to respond to these disasters? >> well, we have dealt most specifically with the private sector side of fema as mentioned, working on business
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recovery. and fema does not have dollars for businesses but they do have resources. what i would say, senator, is while they have been great partners in this, there is perhaps an issue of speed in response. i noted one in which i think is a very good example of them working with a national partner as we sat down and we talked -- we talked about laptops for small businesses. they brought that national partner in early in the second week. and then said we can expand this to the schools as well, which is terrific. the issue in that is probably in those first two weeks is when we had a number of businesses who really needed laptops because their computer systems were in the wreckage at some point in time. >> uh-huh. >> so here we are -- coming up on the two-month mark and these
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laptops are just beginning to arrive. so i think some of that could be addressed, and i know every disaster is different. every situation is different. but i think on the private sector side of fema, if they could work with those national and regional partners and define up front what the resources are or at least basic resources are, and make those available in a much more rapid fashion it would benefit the business sector tremendously. >> of the businesses you talked about, that are damaged or out of business that are trying to recover, do they ever have -- is there any private sector -- i'm not sure what the -- what the response is to like the flower -- the florist shop that almost exclusively dealt with the hospital that's now essentially not there.